How to Celebrate the Kentucky Derby in Colorado Springs

Break out your finest fancy hats, mint juleps and best guesses about race horses. Here's where to celebrate the Run for the Roses in Colorado Springs—with a little taste of Cinco de Mayo too.

The Kentucky Derby isn’t just an event celebrated east of the Mississippi. The 140 years of genteel traditions surrounding the Run for the Roses have spread nationwide, celebrated by anyone looking to dress up, sing “My Old Kentucky Home,” day-drink mint juleps and maybe pretend to care whether Justify or Magnum Moon are legitimate favorites or if My Boy Jack will pay big for those taking his 30-1 odds. In Colorado Springs, there are a number of places for you to sport a fancy-and big-hat or bowtie. Add the fact that the Kentucky Derby will be held on Cinco de Mayo, and you’ve got the makings of a fun Saturday. Here’s how and where to celebrate “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

What to Wear

This is your chance to bring out your inner Southern belle or gentleman. Think bright colors, spring dresses and seersucker suits. Men traditionally dress in bowties and suspenders, while woman coordinate their outfits to match the most important part of their outfit — their headwear.

One of the greatest traditions of the Kentucky Derby is wearing a hat, which is believed to bring good luck. There are no limits to picking a hat, but big and colorful rule Churchill Downs. Go with a traditional and elegant fascinator or a fun, wide-brimmed hat, decorated with flowers, feathers, bows and ribbons. Feeling eccentric? Give your hat an exuberant, humorous theme to stand out.

Where to Celebrate

Junior League of Colorado Springs Kentucky Derby Party

Join the Big Hat contest and give back to the community at the Junior League of Colorado Springs Kentucky Derby Party. In its second year, this event gives Colorado Springs residents a chance to let loose and help raise money for the league’s program serving foster youth. Last year, the Junior League’s derby event raised $12,000 and they’re hoping to raise $20,000 this year. “We looked at other events and thought, a Kentucky Derby like this was really missing in the Springs,” says event chair Amanda Duplantis.

JLCS kentucky derby party
Courtesy of Junior League of Colorado Springs

Guests are encouraged to dress in their best derby attire, especially hats. Televised Derby coverage will play throughout the event, and there will be a silent auction with items from local businesses. Tickets include appetizers and an open beer and wine bar. VIP tickets include a more expanded open bar with mint juleps, margaritas and oaks lilies.

The Gold Room
1:30 – 5:30 p.m.
$80 VIP, $60 General Admission

Axe and the Oak 2nd Annual Kentucky Derby Party

There’s no better way to celebrate the Kentucky Derby than with a mint julep, especially when it’s made with locally-distilled bourbon. Head to Axe and the Oak for $7 mint juleps all day and a live stream of the Derby. Dress to the nines and compete in the best costume contest to win a bottle of Axe and the Oak, as well as your own mint julep tins. Once the races are over, DJ Rocky Ross will spin live to keep the party going well into the night.

Axe and the Oak Whiskey House
2 p.m.

291 Cinco de Derby Party

Can’t decide which holiday to celebrate? You don’t have to pick – Cinco de Derby is a summer kickoff with traditional mint and Georgia juleps, along with 291’s classic: slushy style! Fill your stomach with Treehouse BBQ, and mix it up with a BBQ taco — it is Cinco de Mayo after all. Come for one drink, or stay for a few. Listen to the radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby, and win 291 prizes by playing Derby games at the party.

291 Distillery
1 – 11 p.m.

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