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The Kentucky Derby is a fun-filled tradition of red roses, mint juleps and huge sun hats! 

A Derby party is a celebration inspired by the prestigious Kentucky Derby, a renowned horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, typically on the first Saturday in May. Known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports," the Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition, elegance, and Southern charm. It is a perfect theme for a stylish and sophisticated gathering.

DECOR: To host a memorable Derby party, channel the spirit of Churchill Downs, and create an atmosphere of Southern hospitality and refinement. Decorate your venue with classic Derby elements such as red roses, horse-themed accents, and elegant equestrian-inspired decor. Set up tables with crisp linens, floral centerpieces, and silver servingware for a touch of timeless elegance.

SOUNDSCAPE: For a Derby party, choose music styles like bluegrass, jazz, and swing to set the perfect ambiance. Include classics such as "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Bill Monroe, "When the Saints Go Marching In" by Louis Armstrong, and "Sing, Sing, Sing" by Benny Goodman to capture the essence of Southern elegance and celebration. These genres will infuse your event with the lively energy and sophisticated charm reminiscent of the Kentucky Derby.

ENTRYWAY: As guests arrive, greet them with a festive entrance featuring a grand display of red carpet, topiaries, and a stylish photo backdrop reminiscent of the winner's circle at the racetrack. Play traditional Derby music like bluegrass, jazz, or Dixieland tunes to set the mood and get everyone in the spirit of the event.

FOOD: Indulge your guests with a spread of Southern-inspired cuisine fit for a day at the races. Serve classic Derby dishes such as Kentucky Hot Browns, bourbon-glazed ham biscuits, shrimp and grits, and traditional mint juleps. Don't forget to include a selection of decadent desserts like pecan pie, bourbon balls, and Derby pie to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth.

PARTY EXTRAS: Keep the excitement of the Derby alive with a variety of themed activities and games for guests to enjoy. Host a Derby hat contest, encouraging guests to don their most stylish and creative headwear for a chance to win prizes. Set up a betting station where guests can place friendly wagers on the race using play money or create a sweepstakes pool for added excitement.

INTERACTIVE CORNERS: Create an interactive corner where guests can learn about the history and traditions of the Kentucky Derby. Display memorabilia, photos, and trivia about past winners and iconic moments in Derby history. Provide books or guides on horse racing for guests to peruse and engage in lively conversations about the sport.

With a festive entrance, elegant decor, Southern cuisine, themed activities, and a touch of Derby flair, your Derby party is sure to be a sophisticated and memorable affair that captures the excitement and tradition of the Kentucky Derby. So, break out your finest attire, raise a toast to the Run for the Roses, and let the festivities begin!


Always ask for the nutritional requirements of your guests with the RSVPs to determine if they have any allergies or objections to particular ingredients. 






4 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese

4 ounces of goat cheese

5 tablespoons of fresh scallions

2 tablespoons of fresh dill

5 tablespoons of diced cucumbers

Crackers, brioche or sliced baguettes

Directions: combine the two cheeses, scallions and cucumbers in a processor and blend until smooth.  Add dill and give it a few blasts to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with your choice of sliced cucumber, cracker, etc.




Ingredients: *Serves 12-14

1 4 lb. chicken

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

8 quarts of cold water

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds each of pork shank, veal shank, beef shank, and breast of lamb

1 ½ pounds of potatoes (peeled, diced)

1 ½ pounds of yellow onions - diced

1 bunch of carrots (peeled, sliced into thick rounds)

1 green pepper, 1 red pepper – remove seeds/core and dice

2 cups chopped cabbage (green)

1 quart tomato puree

2 cups whole corn (canned, frozen or fresh)

2 cups sliced okra

2 cloves peeled garlic

½ cup minced parsley

2 cups dry lima beans

1 cup chopped celery

¾ cup Kentucky bourbon

Tabasco (to taste)

Steak sauce (your preference)

Cornbread (serve on the side)


Season the meat with salt/pepper, sear, and place in a large pot with water and oil, bring to a boil slowly. *Wait on the chicken until the last 1.5 hours of cooking. Simmer until meat is done enough to remove from the bones – this should take ~ 3 hours.  Remove the meat from the stock, cool and remove the meat from the bones into bite-sized pieces, returning the meat to the stock.

Peel the potatoes, dice them.  Dice the onions. Add the veggies (except corn and lima beans) and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 45 minutes to an hour). Add corn and lima beans last and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve warm with cornbread on the side.




Ingredients: (serves 8)

9” unbaked pie crust

2 eggs (beaten)

1 cup sugar

1 cup Karo syrup

¼ cup cornstarch

4 teaspoons of Bourbon

½ cup tablespoons butter (soft)

Pinch of salt

1 cup of whole pecans

1 16 oz. package of chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, adding the sugar in small increments as you go. Then, add the Karo syrup and beat a big more, and last, add the butter, salt, vanilla and beat.  Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips and mix thoroughly so they are uniform. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 45-50 minutes until nicely browned and puffy around the edges.



½ cup coconut cream

½ cup milk

6 scoops pineapple sherbet

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon pineapple ice cream topping

1 tablespoon whipped cream for garnish, optional

Fresh pineapple wedges for garnish, sliced, optional


Mix the ingredients in blender and blend on medium/ high until smooth. Garnish with whipped topping and sliced pineapple wedges (optional).



1 box of powdered sugar

¼ lb. of butter, softened

4-5 squares of chocolate

2 teaspoons paraffin

1/3 cup bourbon whiskey

1 cup whole pecans


Mix the sugar, butter and whiskey together and form into balls.  Dip the balls into melted chocolate and paraffin, roll in powdered sugar and add a whole pecan to the top of each ball before they set.




1 oz. orange juice 1 oz. grapefruit juice 1 oz. passion-fruit juice 1 oz. mango juice 1 oz. pineapple juice 1/4 oz. lime juice 1/2 oz. kiwi syrup

Pineapple, strawberries, orange slices, and cherries for garnish.

Shake the ingredients with a glass of broken ice and poor into a glass.  Garnish with the fruit and serve!



4 cups of Kentucky Bourbon (12 servings)

2 bunches of fresh spearmint

1 cup distilled water

1 cup granulated sugar

Powdered sugar

Ice (shaved is preferred)

Prepare mint extract (or you can simply purchase some): take ~ 50-100 mint leaves and wash. With a clean t-shirt (or cheesecloth, but t-shirt is preferred), place the mint leaves inside the t-shirt and dip into a mixing bowl with 4 oz. of bourbon. Allow the mint leaves and bourbon to soak for about 20 minutes. Remove the mint leaves and wring them out over the bourbon mixture, repeat a few times. Taste the extract first to ensure it has a soft mint aroma and that it isn’t too strong.  Put 1 tsp. at a time of this bourbon back with the remainder of bourbon and the mint extract will infuse the flavor. Add as much of this extract to taste. (Generally, about 3 tablespoons should do it.)

Prepare simple syrup: mix 1 cup of granulated sugar into a small saucepan with 1 cup of distilled water. Heat to dissolve sugar, stirring constantly as to not burn the sugar. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the mint julep mixture: Mix the ingredients (mint-infused bourbon) and simple syrup and chill for 24 hours.

Serve: fill your silver mint julep cup (or other cup) ½ with shaved ice, insert a fresh sprig of mint, and then pack in more ice to the top. Insert straw, cutting the straw to ~ 1 inch above the glass so the person will inhale the mint aroma while sipping. Pour the refrigerated julep mix over the ice and add a dash of powdered sugar on top. Serve immediately.




Objective:  To remember the most items from the memory tray after seeing it only once. 

Rules: Put random horse race-related items on a tray or arranged on a table (i.e., horse figurine, winner’s ribbon, a rose, betting sheet, etc.).  Allow each guest to view the items for a time of 1 minute before you cover the items with a table cloth/towel/ sheet.  At this time, allow your guests to write down as many items as they can remember that were presented on the tray/table.  The winner is the one who can remember the most items!  In the event of a tie, a ‘paper–rock–scissors’ contest will decide the winner.  *You can set this up as a ‘challenge booth’ for guests to come up to and play ‘carnival style.’

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Random items, a pen/paper for each guest.

Playing time: ~ 5-10 minutes



Objective: to make the most creative horse out of toilet tissue!

Rules:  pair the guests into groups of 2-3.  Give the teams 10 minutes (or more) to create the most unique horse by using one (or more) roll(s) of toilet tissue. Scotch tape is allowed and should be available to all teams as they need it.  The teams can make as much of the horse as they would like – either choosing to spend more time on the intricate details of just the head or going all out and trying to make the entire animal.  When the time is up and / or the guests are finished creating their horses, the team will display their creations one at a time.  The host judges or the guests vote via a ballot for the best and most creative horse.  In the case of a tie via ballot, the host will be the tiebreaker.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: As many rolls of toilet paper as you wish to have available, but it should be an event amount for each team. There should also be plenty of Scotch tape for each team. A suggestion would be 2-3 rolls of toilet paper per team and a couple of rolls of Scotch tape.

 Playing time: approximately 15 minutes.



Objective: to be the most talented rapping duo at the party!      

Rules: pair the guests into groups of 2.  Give the teams 10 minutes (or more) to create a unique 30-second rap routine to be performed in front of the group.  The teams are to write rap lyrics about horse racing – the sky’s the limit and tell them to be creative!   Play any rap beats repeatedly in the background so the teams have ample time to practice with the music.

When the time is up and/or the guests are finished creating their routines, one at a time, the guests are to perform their rap routines for the other guests.  The host will judge, or the guests will vote via a ballot for the best rap routine.  In the case of a tie, the host will be the tiebreaker.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: any type of rap beats and a music source to play them with. (Rap beat tracks (mp3s) are available for purchase and instant download on within the Mystery Prop Emporium section.)

Playing time: approximately 30 minutes.



Objective: To be the team with the last remaining balloon intact.

Rules:  Divide your group into two (or more) teams.  Tie a specified color balloon to each player’s ankle (i.e., red for one team and purple for another).  When the host says ‘go’, each team is to pop the opposing team's balloons.  Once a team member’s balloon has been popped, they are out of the game and must sit down and cheer their remaining team members on until the game ends.  The winning team is the one who has the last balloon intact! 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: color-coded balloons (i.e., brown and green) for each guest.   

Playing time: ~ 5-10 minutes 

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