Plan a Kentucky Derby party with these Web sites that give you a strong lead on the homestretch with unique hats, mint julep cups, and other horse-themed decor.
Southerners love an excuse to throw a party. Take the Kentucky Derby, for instance. We've harnessed our passions to the two-minute spectacle at Churchill Downs the first Saturday of May. Use this month to plan the perfect Derby party with some tips and products from the Internet.
Visit www.kentuckyderby.com for everything you want to know about the 2002 race on Saturday, May 4. Learn about the horsemen and their steeds and the race for the Triple Crown, or take a side trip to the Derby Museum online.
Unless you've already purchased Derby tickets, you probably won't find any now. Instead, visit Louisville's Kentucky Derby Festival, which entertains all this month. Preview the action at www.kdf.org to select the events you want to attend--the Great Balloon Race, the Pegasus Parade, and much more.
You don't have to spend all your winnings decorating with mint julep cups. Check out the offerings at www.weddingfavorites.com. These silver-plated, beaded beauties sell for a mere $5.95 each. Vases in the same design to hold your roses are $15.
Some folks prefer to serve juleps in collectible Derby glasses from races past. To start your own collection, go to www.horse-science.com/Derbyglasses.htm. This informative site answers the question, "How much are Kentucky Derby mint julep glasses worth?" from both the buyers' and sellers' viewpoints. Because the editors of the site aren't pushing a product, they include truly unbiased guidelines.
Once you know what to spend and which year's cups fit your desires, hit the Internet to find the glassware. When you don't have time to dig for the best deals, try www.kentuckyderbyglass.com. The prices inch a bit above Horse-Science's suggestions but include an almost complete set.
If you prefer to order a custom-made hat, visit Lady Cynthia Millinery at www.ladycynthia.com. In addition to her one-of-a-kind bonnets, she offers an online catalog with more than 150 custom creations from which to choose.
Everything's Coming Up Roses
A Run for the Roses party needs a bloom or two to scent the air with the aroma of May. If you don't have a local rose vendor, try one of these two Internet florists. At www.roseguy.com, you can purchase South American roses by the dozen or in bulk. We also enjoyed the broad selection at www.strictlyroses.com.
If you're planning a casual party with an equine motif, shop at www.derbygifts.com. They sell enough napkins, cups, plates, tote tickets, and balloons to serve all the guests at Churchill Downs this May.
Louisville Stoneware makes a line of handmade pottery with a Derby theme. Visit www.louisvillestoneware.com to view their selection. You'll also find the dishware at www.atasteofkentucky.com. A Taste of Kentucky is a fine resource for bourbon marinades and barbecue sauces, authentic horseshoes from Churchill Downs, and pewter and stoneware mint julep cups as well. And for teetotaling guests, consider Ale-8-One soft drink (99 cents a bottle).
End your Derby day with truffles made by Old Kentucky Candies in Lexington. Go to www.oldkycandy.com to select 100-proof Bourbon Cherries, Chocolate Thoroughbreds, and Derby Mints. Another Kentucky candymaker, Rebecca-Ruth of Frankfort, offers a satisfying line of chocolates laced with Kentucky liquors. Tempt yourself with their online catalog at www.rebeccaruth.com. Annette Thompson
This article is from the April 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.