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Is there any annual event more beloved and filled with tradition than the Kentucky Derby? This year, the celebration has moved to September 5, 2020. But that certainly doesn’t spoil the fun! We’re sharing Kentucky Derby Party ideas that can make your September indoor party a big hit!

The rich history, the beauty of the horses, the frivolity of the hats, the immense pageantry, the refreshing Juleps, and the gorgeous landscape … this race is a celebration unlike any other. Here are creative Kentucky Derby party ideas to pull together a cleverly themed dinner or cocktail party for this year’s September date:


The Mint Julep is the quintessential cocktail of Derby Day. It became the official drink of the event in 1938. These days, more than 120,000 Mint Juleps are consumed at Churchill Downs over the course of Derby weekend. It’s an imperative, you just can’t throw a Derby party without them. 

Another requisite is the way you serve it. Silver cups are the standard. Not only do they keep the drink ice cold, they allow frost to form on the sides of the cup. You always want to hold one from the top or the bottom. It is also perfectly acceptable to serve them in a highball glass. We love these glasses that are official souvenirs of the 146th Kentucky Derby. While there are lots of recipes out there, we prefer the authentic thing. Danielson’s Mint Julep is the official recipe that is served at Churchill Downs.


Some describe the Derby as “two minutes of racing and an entire day of drinking.” While we can’t find a huge amount of fault with that sentiment, the race is truly the focal point of the day. When creating the décor for our celebration, we began with that end in mind. 

The highlight of our tablescape was seven lighted horse silhouettes, which created our very own horse race right on the dining table. To mimic the colorful jockey silks seen at the Derby, we lighted each of the silhouettes a different, vibrant color. Making our adorable centerpieces was easy, thanks to our Cricut Maker and these multipurpose cylindrical vases.

A cute, artificial grass table runner created the perfect foundation and accent for our thoroughbred silhouettes. Finally red roses were an essential décor element. After all, this is a party honoring an event often called “the run for the roses.” To match our black silhouettes, we opted to showcase these beautiful florals in square black vases. Add a trio of votive candles on either side for a dramatic lighting effect and you’ve got a table that will get the party off to a great start … riders up!


As with any good event, the best way to make it truly special is to pay attention to the small details. This party is no exception. We began by finding colorful cocktail napkins which are official souvenirs of the Kentucky Derby. We love how they depict the colorful jockey silks. Truth be told, we used them as the color palette for our entire table. 

PRO TIP: Pick one element of décor that you’re drawn to and build your color scheme around it. It’s a great way to decorate and tie everything together. It also does the work for you … all of the colors are already coordinated!

To add some fun, we coordinated each guests’ napkin with one of the colors of the horse silhouettes. You could even take this a step further by associating a particular horse running in the race with each color. This fun approach will allow each of your guests to literally have a horse in the race and create an extra element of fun!

The Horseshoe was a cute accent to incorporate into our tablescape. Horseshoes are a symbol of luck and one of the many superstitions woven into the traditions of the Derby.

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