Starting in May and concluding in June, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes gallop into action, and with them comes parties celebrating the spirit and festivities of the big races. Whether you keep your get together low-key with just a few friends and family or plan on going all out with an outdoor lawn party, you can bring the glamorous fashion and delicious food of the Triple Crown festivities to your celebration with ease.
Crafting a cohesive menu is the key to culinary success on the big day. Starting with appetizers and moving all the way through to desserts gives you enough time to gather all the necessary ingredients and get a head start on food prep.
Your Triple Crown parties will do well by a buffet-style spread of hors d’oeuvres arranged on an elegant platter ahead of the hearty main course. Finish the meal out with a selection of desserts that celebrate the sweetness of Southern tradition. Need some menu inspiration? We’ve got you covered.
- Hors d’oeuvres: Pimento cheese deviled eggs, Jalapeno hush puppies, Benedictine dip with veggies
- Main course: Buttermilk fried chicken, Shrimp and pimento cheese grits
- Desserts: Pecan pie, Bread pudding with bourbon glaze
Present your race day feast on festive serving ware in the traditional race day colors of blue and white. Everything from small snacking plates to the largest serving platter can utilize this bright color scheme. They can even be coordinated to match with blue and white sofa covers for a cohesive aesthetic in your newly redesigned backyard.
First Place Fashion
Fabulous fashion is a staple of race day celebrations. Keep the t-shirt and jeans in the closet and encourage your guests to join you in donning their fanciest Triple Crown finery. Be sure to include a suggested dress code on your invitations so your guests can plan their best race day couture.
Popular outfit inspirations include blue and white color schemes, equestrian inspired looks, and fashions best fit for spring weather. And there’s no such thing as a hat too elaborate for race day. Go big or go home with dramatic shapes, bright colors, and exciting embellishments to be a true race day fashionista.
Race Day Decor
Making sure your race day decor is on point is of the utmost importance. Extravagance is the name of the game when it comes to racetrack-inspired scenes, so don’t be afraid to go big and bold with checkerboard patterns, horseshoe accouterments, and sectional covers emblazoned with racing graphics.
Roses are the traditional flower of the Triple Crown races, and can be implemented throughout your race day decor. Rose centerpieces can range from $65-$150 in price, so plan your budget accordingly. Single roses and small bouquets are budget friendly, and look lovely when combined with more reasonably priced flowers such as baby’s breath.
No race day celebration is complete without a festive variety of libations available. And the star of your drink selections? The race day favorite we all know and love: mint juleps. These crisp refreshers have been a staple of race day parties since 1938, and are the perfect pick me up for your party guests to sip on.
Searching for the perfect Mint Julep recipe to use on the big race day? Look no further. For each serving, you’ll need:
- 1.3 oz Bourbon
- .75 oz Simple syrup (or 1 tsp sugar)
- 4 Mint Leaves
- 1 Sprig of mint
Place mint leaves and syrup/sugar into a designated julep cup. Use a muddler to crush the leaves and mix with the sugar. Pour in the bourbon and fill glass with crushed ice. Stir until glass becomes frosted. Add mint sprig for garnish, and serve with festive blue and white straws.
Apart from your signature cocktail, stock the bar with basic house selections. Offer a singular dark and light beer, a dry white wine, and a light, refreshing red. Dark and light drafts give your guests two sides to choose from, and a red and a white give your guests the best of both worlds. Cocktail hours can be enjoyed in the yard, weather permitting. If an unexpected storm sets in, your sofa covers and bench covers will keep everything dry until the weather passes.
Go for the Gold
Bring all the fun and excitement of the big races to your party with some creative games and activities. Offering pre-race activities is an excellent way to welcome guests to your party and set the mood for the festivities that will follow. But before you head out to purchase a plethora of new garden party games, take stock of what you already have on hand and plan accordingly.
What’s more on theme for a Triple Crown party than Lucky Horseshoes? Set up on the back lawn and be sure to put on the sectional covers if any libations or other liquids are going to be involved in the race day shenanigans. Add in croquet or badminton for a wide variety of activities for your guests to take part in. Want to take things to the next level? Have a stash of prizes like blue ribbons and miniature gold cup trophies on hand to award to the winner of every game.