Kentucky Derby Theme

The Kentucky Derby has been a popular sport that has weaved itself into the fabric of American culture since its inception in 1875. It’s now one of the most famed horse races in the world. Visitors flock from all over to Churchill Downs in Kentucky to enjoy the atmosphere full of mint juleps, elegant hats, and horses. After a century of traditions, you can be sure this would make a great theme for your next event.

Each year at the Derby, 27 horses will compete to take home the winner’s trophy.
Along with the trophy, there is the tradition of the garland of roses. The Roses of the Kentucky Derby total to 564 individual red roses that are sewn into a green satin blanket that will be draped over the winning horse. Incorporate this coveted moment by getting a faux horse prop and have it in traditional derby fashion with the bridle, blinkers, and the small leather patch that will act as the jockey’s saddle which resides over the numbered cloth to identify the horse. Take the faux horse and decorate it with a winning garland of roses so that your guests will get the full extent of a derby win. It also compliments the purpose of making a great area for your guests to do a photo op here so they have memories they can take back home with them. Another great photo opportunity for your guests will be to reinvent a backdrop with the infamous Churchill Down Twin Spires in the background. It’s a must-see landmark for the Derby and by bringing this to the event your guests can have two iconic Derby scenes readily available to up the wow factor. You can create an experience that is realistic and captivating.

The big ornate hats that are known to be worn at the annual Kentucky Derby dates back to a tradition in England after the race that the Derby was modeled after, The Epsom. The hats  emphasize on the underlying theme of the Derby being a see-and-be-seen affair by incorporating such elaborate hats. Do the same for your event and take it to the next level by supplying a garden variety of hats for some of the attendees. You can’t have the iconic ornate hats without supplying the official drink of the sport, Mint Juleps for your guests. It was said the Down began to serve their mint juleps in souvenir cups because patrons began stealing their glasses. Make your mint juleps as authentic as possible by providing them in souvenir cups as well, but use your company’s logo and the event tagline so you can provide everyone with a small gift for attending.


The Kentucky Derby has been deeply rooted with many traditions that anyone is sure to enjoy regardless of how much they know about the event itself. This theme is fun, and will be one for your guests to remember. If you love this concept, talk with us at Exhilarate today!

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