Chica and I love to have our friends over for a party. Usually, we just have a gathering for no apparent reason, but sometimes there is a really fun reason! Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite reasons to have a party… the Kentucky Derby!
We’ve mentioned the Kentucky Derby a few times before. We have shared ideas with you for traditional Derby Day food and we even shared our betting spreadsheet and betting tickets with you (check back after the field is announced for the updated 2011 sheet)
We also designed some special Derby-themed Cupcake Collars (available at CupcakeCollars.com) that you can use to make easy cupcakes shaped like red roses, jockey silks, or horseshoes!
In addition to the good food and just-for-fun betting, I like to have a theme when I host a Derby party.Â I think it is fun to give my guests a bit of crafty homework to do before they show up.Â Participation is never required, but it is highly encouraged.Â I even bribe my guests with the promise of a prize!Â It’s a lot of fun to see what creative ideas come through the door.
If you’re looking for some Kentucky Derby party game inspiration, here’s a look at some of the ideas I’ve used in the past:
HATS: The Kentucky Derby is famous for its parade of hats.Â One year, I asked guests to design their own derby hats to wear to the party.Â Look at what they did!
JOCKEY SILKS: The colorful silks are one of my favorite sites at the races.Â For this contest, I just gave my guests a plain template for inspiration and let them do whatever they wanted.Â A lot of guests got really creative and didn’t stick to a two-dimensional design.Â The entries for this contest were great!Â The winner was the jockey silks made out of metal and pipes.Â I also liked the cake entries because we got to eat them!Â Someone made a quilt square and framed it and someone else made a 3-D jockey out of Model Magic. And yes, that is a cow wearing jockey silks in the bottom picture!
HORSES: There couldn’t be a Kentucky Derby without horses!Â This was the most difficult contest to put together, but was also the most worth it.Â I gave each guest a plastic toy horse that I had spray painted plain white and told them to decorate it, or you can try these paintable horses.Â Everyone had so much fun with this, and now it’s years later, and I still see a lot of these decorated horses in my friends’ offices and homes.Â Look at all that creativity!Â The bottom, left picture is a close-up of a Trojan horse!Â Those are little army men coming out of it.Â I wish I had better pictures of the entries, because there were a lot more and they were all wonderful.Â If any of the participants have pictures, please send them to me!
BALLOONS: The week before the Derby, Kentucky hosts a huge festival.Â A big part of that festival is a hot air balloon race, so one year I had my guests decorate plain, white, hot air balloon paper lanterns that I purchased from Oriental Trading Company.Â I hung them all from a string of large Christmas lights, using clothespins to hang each balloon over a bulb. They looked so pretty all lit up!
Here are some of the individual balloons. We had some really creative entries, including one inspired by another strong Kentucky tradition — Maker’s Mark bourbon.
POSTERS: The Kentucky Derby selects an artist each year to design a commemorative poster for the event.Â In a similar vein, I had my guests design their own commemorative posters one year.Â Chica happened to win this contest.Â She used faux leather and brass fasteners to make a beautiful poster.
Do you have any other fun ideas for Derby themes or games? I’d love to hear them!