by Emily Baker
The Kentucky Derby has been a historic tradition in the United States since 1875. Today, the event is more widely recognized as a chance to put on your nicest dress or suit, your largest hat, and celebrate in style at a Derby Party.
This year the Kentucky Derby will be on Saturday, May 7. We know that you have endless options of Derby Parties around Denver, but why not celebrate for a good cause? Here are Equestrienne’s top five Derby Parties around Denver that donate most if not all of their proceeds to charity.
5. Hyatt Regency Hotel
If you’re looking for a downtown alternative to the Denver Derby Party, Jockeys, Juleps and Jazz is a great option. This classed up derby party features live and silent auctions, southern cuisine, a hat contest, a photo booth, and live Simulcast of all the derby action. In relatively the same price bracket as the Denver Derby Party, tickets to this event cost $125 but all proceeds go to benefit MyLifeLine.org, a resource for online support for people with cancer. Tickets also get you discounted room rates of $139 at the Hyatt Regency for the night to ensure that no one needs a designated driver for the evening! For more information or to order your tickets visit www.mylifeline.org/derby/.
4. Bar Car
Voted one of Denver’s Best Derby Parties, Talk Derby to Me at The Bar Car on Colorado Boulevard boasts Mint Julep cocktails, a Big Hat Contest, games and prizes for party-goers, and live music throughout from That Damn Sasquatch, and Waitin’ on Ray. The party lasts from 1:00-8:00 on Derby Day, and expands out into the tented parking lot neighboring the bar. The best part? Bar Car is located on Colorado Bouldevard and 8th Avenue so this party is a great alternative if you want to avoid downtown. A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Rocky Mountain Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in training. Or maybe the best part is that Jim Beam, Dry Dock, and PBR are sponsoring the party. his party is certainly one of the most affordable on the list at $12 at the door. For more information visit the restaurant website at www.denverbarcar.com.
Brunch. They have three seatings at $65 per person. This includes brunch, bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, wrist band access to the Post Race party, live music by the Taylor Scott Band, and access to the pool deck. It is highly recommended to reserve tables.
Later in the day is the Annual Post Race party in the Edge Bar and Restaurant. There is NO COVER charge for this party. In the world of derby parties that’s about as rare as a unicorn. This party is sponsored by Jim Beam and Makers Mark and features specialty cocktails with both of these liquors. It also has a DJ, half off appetizers, and did we mention no cover charge? Also in the hotel, in the Cottonwood Ballroom, is the Official VIP Jockey Club After Party. This is for people who purchased the Jockey Club ticket to the Denver Derby as it is located a few short blocks from the party. This event also has specialty cocktails, open food buffet, a DJ, and bottle service available in the bar area.
2. The Denver Derby Party
Equestrienne’s number two Derby Party to attend in Denver this year is The Denver Derby Party located at the Performing Arts Complex and Sculpture Garden. Started way back in 2001 as a donation only party for roughly 70 guests, this Derby Party has outgrown three previous locations as it’s risen in popularity and is expecting over 5500 guests this year. Today the party costs $150 for a ticket, but 100% of the proceeds go toward the Sean “Ranch” Lough Memorial Scholarship for whom the party was initially created 15 years ago.
Having outgrown the original private venue location, the Washington Park Boat House, and the Denver Botanic Gardens this fiesta has been ranked the #1 Derby Party in the United States outside of Louisville, Kentucky. In fact, at least 25% of attendees travel here from out of state for the occasion. This year the party features over 100 bars, the ever popular champagne tent, the Macy’s Big Hat contest, and over 50 big screen TVs and two jumbotrons for viewing all of the race day activities. The cost of the ticket includes food, beverages, and enjoyment of all of the features this event has to offer! The price of admission to this event is worth every penny, not only for the entertainment value but for the cause it benefits. For more information about The Denver Derby visit www.denverderby.com or check out the 2015 highlights here.
1. The Boulder Derby Party
The name is a bit misleading for this derby party, as the Boulder Derby Party this year will be hosted at the West Club Lounge at Mile High Stadium in downtown Denver! Not to worry though, that just saves you a strenuous trip up US-36. This derby party lasts from 1PM-6PM on Derby Day and boasts live music, food and drink, mint juleps, and live and silent auctions. Ticket cost is $100 and all proceeds go to benefit Front Range Hippotherapy. If you are unfamiliar with this organization, it provides occupational, speech, and physical therapy to people with disabilities using horses as animal therapists. As equestrians, we obviously feel strongly about this cause, and that’s why this comes in as our NUMBER ONE derby party to attend this year! If you can’t make the event, The Boulder Derby Party strongly encourages you to make a donation to Front Range through their website. For more information, to purchase tickets, or to make a donation visit www.boulderderby.com.
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