Yesterday I posted some inspiration for Cinco de Mayo; but as it turns out there’s more than one reason to party on May 5th this year – that’s also Derby Day! Most people are familiar with the Kentucky Derby, but here in Maryland it’s all about Pimlico and the Preakness. Rounding out the whole Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes in New York.
When most people think of horse racing, the first things that come to mind are the Derby and Mint Juleps. But all three races have their own traditions. When I think of the races (typically Preakness – having been a Marylander for the last 5.5 years!) I think of big hats, flowers, and drinks.
|Credits: Candy Hats via Hatter and Hare Events, Bonnet Cookies via Bakerella, Race Day Hat via Maryland Life|
I don’t know how or why it started, by hats and horse racing go hand in hand. If you’re having your own party, invite your guests to participate in a crazy hat contest and serve some sweets that give a pretty nod to the tradition.
|Photo Credits: Roses via Mimi Frou Frou, Preakness photo via Human Flower Project, Belmont photo via The Saturday Post|
Flowers are definitely a HUGE part of race day. The Kentucky Derby traditionally uses roses, the Preakness highlights black eyed susans and Belmont features white carnations. Like most flower arrangements, using just one of these in abundance makes a huge impact to any display or centerpiece. I love the cost-effectiveness of black eyed susans and carnations; but must admit that roses always make a classic and stunning display.
|Photo Credits: Mint Julep via My Kitchen by the Lake, Black Eyed Susan via Southern Living, Belmont Breeze via Driscoll’s|
Signature drinks are a staple for most parties these days. Of course Derby parties feature the traditional Mint Julep – made with fresh mint, simple syrup or sugar, and bourbon. The Black-Eyed Susan is the traditional drink of the Preakness – made with vodka, whiskey, sweet & sour mix and orange juice. The Belmont Breeze is the official drink of the Belmont Stakes, which is actually a tradition just a few years old. The most complicated of all three, it includes whiskey, cream sherry, fresh fruit juices, and club soda.
Do you celebrate any of the Triple Crown races? If so, what does your family do?