The Kentucky Derby is often called the most exciting two minutes in sports, but the actual event is a lengthy celebration. Many people love the Kentucky Derby, but not all can afford to fly to Churchill Downs to witness the breathtaking event. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t experience the thrill of Derby.
You can experience Kentucky Derby from the comfort of your couch, local bar, backyard or any other venue. All you have to do is tune in to a sports channel for live Kentucky Derby action. But, watching Kentucky Derby alone or with a few friends is no fun. That’s why we suggest you throw a party. It shouldn’t be a mainstream Derby party; rather you should plan a Kentucky Derby casino party. What’s a Kentucky Derby casino party? Well, it’s a party that combines the thrill of Kentucky Derby with a fun of Las Vegas casino.
Interested? Read on to see how you can organize a Kentucky Derby sports casino party.
1. Set the Derby Tone with Invitations
The Kentucky Derby casino party is the ultimate theme event, so make sure that all your guests are prepared to celebrate in the Derby way. The invitation for your party should be festive and informative to set the right tone. Add horse confetti to your invitation envelopes!
Make sure to specify the Derby attire on your invitation so that everyone knows the dress code. If your guests aren’t familiar with Derby protocol, offer some outfit inspirations to them so that they can commit to the party theme.
2. Pick a Venue
You could organize a Kentucky Derby sports casino party in your backyard (if you have the space), but it would be better to hold it in a large venue like a hotel, rooftops, community centre or ballroom. The reason is that you’ll need plenty of space for casino tables and your place will become overcrowded if the venue is small.
3. Don’t Forget Derby Decorations
The Derby party outfits will add the theme, but you should also add some décor to your space to make it more Derby like. Roses are a must for your decorations as Derby is often called “the run of for the roses.” You could also make some horseshoes of fake flowers for guests to wear when they enter the party. Cover the tables and chairs in green and red to match the Kentucky Derby logo. Also place small bouquets in cups on tables.
Need more decorations? Then hang a sign that has Derby logo on it and says, “Welcome to Churchill Downs – The home of Kentucky Derby” on the entrance. Also add a jockey cutout with a face of a famous jockey or your own face right at the entrance of the venue. It’s great fun and will provide a good photo opportunity to your guests.
4. The Dress Code
Share some style guidelines with your guests to help them decide what to wear for your Kentucky Derby casino party. Festive fascinators or fancy hat is a must for ladies along with printed ensemble or bright dress. Men should go with seasonal essentials and add some Derby accessories like Derby pocket squire or needlepoint belt.
You could hold a best attire contest to encourage your guests to take their style game to another level. Have everyone vote for the favorite outfit. Award the winner of the contest with a memorable, theme-specific prize.
5. Tell Your Guests Some Fun Facts about Kentucky Derby
The outfits and decorations are all fun and will add to the theme, but remember you’re hosting the party to watch Kentucky Derby. So make sure to set up a big screen where all your guests can experience the most exciting two minutes in sports. Before the race begins, impress them with some surprising and interesting facts about Derby.
6. Prepare Mint Julep
A Derby party isn’t complete within mint julep – the signature Kentucky Derby drink. During the Kentucky Derby event at Churchill Downs, about 120,000 mint julep drinks are served. The official mint julep recipe consists of crushed ice, sugar, Bourbon, fresh mint and water. However, since you’re organizing a casino Kentucky Derby party, add some twist to the julep. Check out these six mint julep recipes and try one.
7. Derby Menu Southern Classic Dishes
Your guests will get hungry from all the excitement of watching the Kentucky Derby race, so offer them plenty of food. The menu should reflect the theme of the party; try some classic Southern dishes such as smoked grits and Pimento cheese dip. If you’re after a menu right from the source, then check out these recipes offered by the official Kentucky Derby website itself. The site lists menu items – like blackberry cobbler, American farro salad, bacon bourbon caramel popcorn and bourbon glazed ham – an item that’s famously served at the Kentucky Derby event.
Place a sign near the bar that says, “Step right here to take off”, indicating that the real party starts here. You could also create other personalized banners with the words of your choice and hang it near the bar. Serve the mint julep to the guests and offer other drinks too as some of your guests may not fancy the julep.
8. Derby Activities
You would want to keep your guests entertained before and after the race. So, plan some derby activities. Hold a Derby trivia to see how much your guests know about Kentucky Derby and give a good reward to the winner. Ask questions like, who holds the record for the fastest run? The highest prize money ever awarded? For more ideas and questions, visit Kentucky Derby Museum.
You could also give betting tickets and have your guests make bets. But, only do this with your friends or family members. Otherwise, your Kentucky Derby party could turn into mayhem as your guests may get angry from losing their money.
9. Casino Games
Since you’re holding a Kentucky Derby casino party, it goes without saying that you need to offer a variety of casino games to the guests. You can have Texas Hold’em Poker, Craps, Blackjack, Roulette or Baccarat. We would suggest you rent a few tables for Roulette and Blackjack as they’re relatively easy to play. At casino party, real money isn’t used; rather, fake money/chips are offered to the players. So, your guests can play as much as they want to without putting their money on the line. At the end of your Kentucky Derby casino party, allow your guests to exchange the chips they’ve won for prizes. That would encourage them to participate more in the casino games.
10. Hire Dealers
You would need dealers to run the casino games like Blackjack and Roulette. You could hire professional dealers to ensure that your guests are aware of the rules and the games run smoothly. However, if you’re tight on budget, steer clear of hiring a professional. You could ask your friends or family member to play the role of a dealer at your casino party. Inform them about the party and ask them of this favor at least a week before the date of your Kentucky Derby party. That way, you’ll have enough time to think of another solution in case they say no.
11. Additional Entertainment
This one’s optional. You should be able to keep your guests entertained with the derby activities and casino games. But, if you’ve got the budget and want to throw a truly extravagant Kentucky Derby casino party, then add some more entertainment to your event. Consider hiring DJs, a band, comedian, fire performers, clown or a magician to make your Kentucky Derby party more entertaining.
This year’s Kentucky Derby will take place on 4th May. It’s only two months away. So, if you want to organize a Kentucky Derby casino party, we suggest you start planning now. As you can see, there are a lot of things you need to focus on to pull off a successful Kentucky Derby casino party. From invitations, décor, dress code to food, drinks, derby activities and casino games, everything should be perfect. If you think that it’s too much for you to manage on your own, consider taking a professional’s help.
At 4S Casino Party, we know what it takes to organize successful casino-themed parties. You could hire us to plan your Kentucky Derby casino party. We’ll take care of all the details so that you can enjoy with your guests without worrying about managing anything.
Contact us today at (408) 298-3001 for a free quote.