The first Kentucky Derby race was on May 17, 1875; making the Kentucky Derby the longest running sporting event in the United States. The races were started by Meriwether Lewis Clark after visiting Europe, attending their Epsom Derby, and befriending the French Jockey Club. The first Kentucky Derby hosted approximately 10,000 spectators watching 15 three-year-old Thoroughbred horses race. Over the years, the Kentucky Derby has grown and had to make some changes while still “honoring the integrity of the spectacle race set forth by Meriwether Lewis Clark” (kentuckyderby.com).
As times change, traditions at the races also started to appear and become part of the Kentucky Derby experience. One of the most commonly recognized traditions is the ladies’ hats. The extravagant hats that we associate with the event today, started around the 1960s. The women had a chance to stand out, so the hats became larger and brighter. The hats have been a start for women to showcase the new spring fashions by coordinating their hats with their dresses, shoes, bags, and other accessories. Men do participate in the hat wearing, as well; however, the men’s hats tend to not be as extravagant. The men’s hats are more practical while still being stylish.
To celebrate and honor this American tradition, come join us for our first ever Hats & Horses: Kentucky Derby Dance Party! Dress up as if you are attending the Derby in person, complete with hats and dancing shoes! We will have food, friends, drinks, and lots of dancing. The party starts at 7pm on Saturday, May 7th. RSVP today to join in on the celebration!
*Churchill Downs Incorporated (2016). Kentucky Derby. Retrieved from www.kentuckyderby.com.