Established in 1875, the Kentucky Derby often gets described as one of the most exhilarating sporting events of the year. As the 3-year-old thoroughbred horses take the track for the 1.25 mile race, bets are made and anticipation mounts.
The event annually draws a crowd of 150,000 to Louisville, Kentucky’s Churchill Downs. It welcomes everyone from locals to celebrities to presidents to tourists. Taking place the first Saturday of every May, it’s now expected that attendees dress in lavish outfits, with ladies sporting elegant hats, and men finding their best bow tie, while all parties sip on mint juleps.
For folks not traveling to horse country to be a part of th event first hand, the Poplar Grove Plantation brings excitement to town with their own Kentucky Derby Party this Saturday, May 3rd. The party will feature a televised viewing of the race, so attendees can vicariously take part in the cultural staple.
“We are situated on 15 acres which provides the perfect backdrop for guests to wander around the lawn [and] support two worthy organizations,” Felicia Greene, director of tourism at Poplar Grove, informs.
For the past five years the Junior League of Wilmington has hosted their own Mint Julep Jubilee on Poplar Grove’s grounds; however, this year the plantation is taking over the reins. Their party will raise funds for the educational and animal programs they offer to continue informing on Poplar Grove’s historical contribution locally.
“We are mindful to keep our programs informative and relevant for our students, which involves renewing and expanding the resources we offer,” Greene notes. “Funds raised for the animal program will be used toward general upkeep, such as feed and veterinarian services.”
Their goal is to bring in $10,000, as funds will be shared with another nonprofit, Southeast Coast Equine Rescue League (SCERL). The organization dedicates itself to the compassionate care of horses, and provides care to abused, neglected or abandoned equines, rehabilitating them in an effort to find them a compatible, loving home. Poplar Grove has been working closely with the SCERL, in order to become a rescue site. Currently housing three ponies, the plantation sets their sights on expansion.
Throughout the afternoon, visitors can try their luck in a rousing game of horseshoes or play cornhole. As well, three horses will from the equine rescue will be in the pasture throughout the event.
In true derby tradition, bets will be placed. The early race will have $5 bets, and the derby will have $10 and $20 bets. Winners will take home a purse of personal training packages, salon treatments, bourbon, and mint julep silver cups, along with other items. There also will be $1 tickets for a 50/50 raffle.
Maximizing the spectacle of one’s hat proves essential in the Derby tradition. By effect, the fundraiser will crown the most eye-catching millinery. The winner will receive a $150 gift card to Blush Haus of Beauté, located on Eastwood Road.
Massive Grass will play their banjo-infused tunes at the event in honor of the Bluegrass State’s main event. “Whether it is traditional bluegrass tunes, rock-to-bluegrass conversions, or their own original songs, Massive Grass mixes their rock ‘n’ roll backgrounds with their love of acoustic mountain music to form a truly unique experience,” Greene tells.
The Atlantic Coast Cloggers will demonstrate the American dance, which originates from British Isles, Africa, and pre-Columbian America. “The South took elements of these styles to form this unique dance,” Greene comments.
A Thyme Savor will cater the event. Attendees will enjoy cheddar biscuits, bourbon-marinated pork on corn cakes, beef tenderloin with Henry Bain sauce (a vinegar, tomato and fruit concoction), deviled eggs, and pickled shrimp. In addition, guests can enjoy chocolate-peanut butter treats by Coastal Cupcakes.
Tickets can be purchased online through Brown Paper Tickets, and are available until the day before the event but not at the door. The party is limited to 175 guests.
Kentucky Derby Party
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