It's still going to be the 1st Saturday in May
It's Derby week - or it should be. I've seen the social media posts and memes...you probably have too - It's Derby Week in Kentucky - check on your friends...we are not OK. It feels so strange not to have the city a buzz with activity, fireworks, balloon glow and races, parades, chow wagons and of course Churchill Downs opening and all of the wonderful racing events there and the Derby Museum simply packed full of visitors and people. I know that these things have been postponed until September, it will be so different, and hot...really, really hot!
I thought that since we are still probably feeling the void of such a historic and momentous week, I'd share a few things that we can do to still take advantage of the weekend and maybe, do things a little differently, from the safety of our homes and neighborhoods. We can still have fun, drink a Mint Julep, get dressed up, check in with each other and take a trip down memory lane of Derby's past.
There are a few LIVE virtual events that will allow those of us whom are really missing all the festivities on the 1st weekend in May, but in a little different way this year. From friends and family that are hosting their own LIVE zoom parties to local Louisville groups working hard to bring the party to you from the comfort of your home, there is plenty that you can do to get plugged in and connected with other Kentuckians and Derby fans that want to celebrate our traditional Derby weekend. You can even download a Virtual Meeting Background from our friends at Louisville Tourism - HERE.
Virtual KYDerby at Home Party
This is a great first of it's kind event that will take place on Saturday, May 2 from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. with a day-long virtual #KyDerbyAtHome party and Churchill Downs, who will match up to $1 MILLION of COVID-19 relief donations. The day starts with a LIVE Virtual tour of Churchill Downs at 9 a.m. and offers lots of other great things from Kid's Arts & Crafts to LIVE Cocktail crafting during the day. Starting April 30th you can visit KentuckyDerby.com to donate and support the relief effort. Find all the details and the complete schedule HERE.
Recipes for your perfect Delayed Derby Day
When I was growing up, Derby Day was always a big family affair. I grew up in Lexington and my parents never went to Derby while I was living at home, but the day would start early non-the-less. My mom would pull out all the stops, from decorations, to homemade bourbon balls and a spread that would feed an army, all centered around her amazing Kentucky Burgoo. We played games, stayed close to the television and always had a Horse pot drawing for each race with the Kentucky Derby having the biggest ante's for each pull. It was always a super fun day, even in the rain and one I looked forward to and hold memories that will last a lifetime. I wanted to share with you my family's recipes for: Kentucky Bibb Lettuce Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing, Sondra's Kentucky Burgoo, Grandmother Edith's Derby Pie and of course a classic Mint Julep exactly as my mama made them. She was an amazing soul that lived for family get togethers and a great excuse to party. This Julep's for you Mamma (Sondra) - I miss you every day!
Take a walk down memory lane
As we reflect on what Derby Day, weekend, week and month means to us and are looking to a way to remember the fun times we've had and look forward to the Delayed Derby festivities in August and September, we can use some of the time to recall some of our favorite memories through storytelling and picture memory books. I have a half century of memories, even though I don't recall so far back. The memories I've made over the years include many different Derby Days, but most all good. I've had Derby Days spent at parties with family, friends and sometimes both. I've been to Derby Weekend fundraisers like the Hillbilly Outfield which raises money each year for the Make a Wish Foundation. I have celebrated Derby at Churchill Downs (both in the infield, in the stands and int the really good seats), at Keeneland, at Prairie Meadows in Iowa and once at a wedding of a family member, also in Iowa. I've also spent times at home, with just me and the kids. All of them hold special memories. A few years back, I ran the Triple Crown of Running as well as the Derby Half Marathon. Talk about a huge accomplishment for this gal, I ran each race solo, I trained solo and for the big half marathon, my oldest daughter happened to be visiting from college (USC in Columbia) and she was there at the start and at the finish. That was a real amazing mom-daughter moment. She went on to run her own half marathon a few months later in South Carolina. I put together a poster of some of my personal favorite moments, just to remind me that even though Derby Day 146 won't be running this weekend, as Kentuckians and Derby Fans everywhere, we will Get Through this Together and are all #TeamKentucky at Derby time. You can do something similar on a platform like Canva or just tape printed photos on a piece of poster board for your own walk down memory lane where you can hold some of your favorite memories close at hand.
February is Cherry Month - all month long! I love cherries and can remember when I was a young girl, climbing tall ladders in my grandmother's neighbor's yard to pick the beautiful, red and sweet fruit with my mama on warm summer days. I can't think of a single cherry treat I don't adore, and since we are in Kentucky, I thought I'd share my recipe for Bourbon Soaked Cherries, or "Drunken Cherries" as my mama used to call them. Here's my recipe - always use a higher proof bourbon such as Four Roses Single Barrel (100 proof).
2 Cups of fresh cherries - washed and pitted with stems on (use a cherry pitter for this, makes things easier)
1 Cup high proof, good quality Kentucky Bourbon
2/3 Cup of dark brown sugar
Optional - 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 or 2 glass mason jars with lids, cleaned with hot soapy water and rinsed well.
If you make the recipe, take a photo of your process, finished product or even how you use them (Can you say - Old Fashioned?") and tag us on social media and your post will show up in our gallery! Let us know what bourbon you used! #kytravel #kytravelguide #bourboncherries #drunkencherries #oldfashionedfromscratch #betterinthebluegrass #chicgourmet #kytravelgal #gotolouisville #fourrosesbourbon