Monday, June 6, 2011

A Derby Birthday Party

Jimmy is super into horse racing. As in we have the U-verse sports upgrade package so he can get the horse racing channels. As in he knows horse stats like he knows his favorite baseball and football players stats. So when we found out that the big spring softball tourney was moved up a weekend and left the first weekend in May open which happens to be the weekend they run the Kentucky Derby and also happens to be the weekend after Jimmys May 4th birthday it was only natural for him to say to me "I want to have a Derby Birthday Party with fancy food". Ha. Ok.

Luckily he told me early enough that I had time to plan and get some decorations together. I told him it would not be all out since I was in the middle of session and my errand running time was seriously limited. I did what I could and tried very hard to make it a great party. I didn't want session taking away from his birthday. I think I found the right middle ground and a great starting off point for (hopefully) many Derby parties to come. In the end I love the way it turned out and the few items that ended up getting cut due to time constraints will be perfect new additions next year.

My spin on the theme was Kentucky Derby meets Southern backyard BBQ. For the food I wanted to do traditional Kentucky Derby fare but I had to modify things a bit to accomodate my work schedule. The menu consisted of items that could be done ahead of time so that the morning of the party I would simply be heating things through and not actually cooking. It worked perfectly. The decor was simple. I made seersucker and burlap table runners and used up-cycled glass jars turned vases filled with daisys and roses. A little lace here and there and doily lined plates added to the southern feel. I also printed out copies of the official race packet so that the guests could have information on each horse and make wise betting decisions :)

The Menu:
Mini Quiche

Benedictine Spread

Cucumber Sandwiches

I made hot ham and cheese sliders instead of the Kentucky Hot Brown open faced sandwiches. I didn't get a picture of those but let me just say TASTY!

For dessert I made Kentucky Derby Pie aka chocolate chip bourbon pecan pie and strawberry shortcake.

I never did get a great picture of the table as a whole but it's really hard playing hostess with the mostess and party photographer. This horseshoe was hanging on the front door but I never got a picture of it outside so this will have to do...

In the beverage department we had Mint Juleps, Bourbon on the rocks and non-alcolic Mint Tea Punch and Lemonade. A note on the Mint Juleps... equal parts mint syrup and bourbon and that's all I'm say'n. I served the drinks in mason jars and had name tags attached for guests the "tag their glass".

Of course you can't have a Kentucky Derby Party without Derby hats! We asked the ladies to wear hats and for the guys to dress preppy.

The guys had a "dress up fail" except for Jimmy, Budro and Matt... and I never did get a pic of them together and I am still blaming my lack of hostess/photographer skills.
(Mac was there too and in preppy clothes until he had to have a wardrobe change but he was in a white tshirt and seersucker pants.)

We had tons of fun... even though the race was an upset.

Till next May...


  1. Fun! You are the hostess with the mostest. Very impressed and my mouth is watering for Kentucky Derby pie!

  2. You didn't go all out? Sure looks like you did to me.
    If you guys ever make it down south, we live 30 minutes from Retama Park. T likes to go and bet on the ponies and won a trifecta last time we were there.

  3. How fun! Awesome photos and awesome party. So cool.