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Kentucky Derby Parties & Events for Great Cause

Kentucky Derby Parties & Events for Great Cause: The 2015 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are the most popular thoroughbred races of the season. It starts with the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 1, and the party continues with Derby preparations and the official running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2. Both the 2015 Kentucky Oaks and 2015 Kentucky Derby take place at the famed Churchill Downs, but besides the races, there are plenty of festivities to join in with to celebrate the big racing weekend, all of which raise money and benefit important causes.

Kentucky Derby Parties 2015

Both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby take place at the famed Churchill Downs, but besides the races, there are plenty of festivities to join in with to celebrate the big racing weekend, all of which raise money and benefit important causes. Photo:

Things kick off on Thursday, April 30, 2015, with the Sixth Annual Taste of Derby presented by Stella Artois which will be located in the North Wing Lobby at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Guests will get to mingle with horse racing celebrities as well as enjoy a showcase of cuisine from popular horse racing destinations across the country, including Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Toronto, Little Rock, and Louisville. There will be samples of regional specialties as well as a variety of wines. There will also be live evening entertainment by the band City Heat from 7:00 to 11:30. The event will also raise funds for hunger relief organizations with donations to date totaling over $235,000. Tickets can be purchased at and include food and wine tastings, premium open bar, complimentary valet service, live entertainment, and a red carpet entrance.

The 2015 Kentucky Derby festivities continue on Friday night, May 1, with the Heritage Grand Gala put on by Laura Lee Brown, Steve Wilson, and Junior and Doris Bridgeman at the Hermitage Farm in Goshen, Kentucky. Featured musical celebrity entertainment will include Darius Rucker, Ne-Yo, DJ Cassidy, and Julie Atlas. Tickets are available for purchase for both individuals and tables. Guests can purchase winner’s circle tables for $12,000 which includes one table at the Hermitage Grand Gala, ten tickets to the Hermitage Grand Gala, preferred seating, red carpet access, dinner, entertainment, dancing, and private VIP Bar Service. Guests can also purchase one winner’s circle ticket for $1,200. Guests can also purchase Dark Star Tables for $10,000 which include everything that the Winner’s Circle includes with the exception of preferred seating and private VIP Bar Service, or guests can purchase a singular Dark Star Ticket for $1,000 per person. Tickets can be purchased by calling 502-805-2009. Proceeds of the event will benefit The West End School, Kentucky School of Art at Spalding University, Cardinal Covenant Scholarship at the University of Louisville, Kosair Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Hospital Foundation, and The University of Louisville Autism Center.

Another great event that guests can enjoy on Friday night is the Unbridled Eve Gala. It is held at the Grand Ballroom of the Galt House Hotel and Suites from 7:00 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. with Dance Only admittance beginning at 10:00 p.m. The night will be a true southern experience. It is a black tie optional event and will feature celebrity guests from sports, music, TV, movies, poker, the literary world, and the horse racing world while being hosted by Julie Smith and Ben Jackey. It features a cocktail reception showcasing specialty bars and fine wines, champagnes, bourbons, vodkas, and custom cocktails by Champion sponsor Southern Wine and Spirits. There will also be over 100 silent auction items and a gourmet dinner, and live entertainment will be provided by celebrity musical guests as well as dancing to the Louisville Crashers. The event benefits Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that fights childhood hunger of elementary school students, and eight other non-profit organizations. For tickets, tables, or to make a donation to the Unbridled Charitable Foundation, call 502-894-9768.

Yet another official Kentucky Derby event on Friday night is the Barnstable Brown Party. The Barnstable Brown Gala is a black tie affair and has run for 27 years. It is a star-packed event and is one of the most coveted Derby Eve party tickets anywhere, and it is held at Patricia Barnstable Brown’s elegant home in the Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood. There will be dancing and music along with succulent food and top shelf drinks. The party has a red carpet entrance and will benefit the University of Kentucky’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center. For inquiries, call 502-591-6778.

Of course, the main events are the 2015 Kentucky Oaks on Friday and the 2015 Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Gates open at 8:00 in the morning with a post time of 10:30 for the first race. Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is 5:45 p.m. on Friday, and the Kentucky Derby will be at 6:24 p.m. the following day.

The 2015 Kentucky Oaks takes place on Friday, May 1, and acts as a sister race to the Kentucky Derby. For the Kentucky Oaks, make sure you wear your best pink outfit. This year will mark the seventh annual Think Pink in honor of the Oaks official flower, the stargazer lily, and in support of Churchill Downs’ official partnerships with Bright Pink and Horses & Hope.

Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Churchill Downs will donate $50,000 to Bright Pink to be used towards the education, support, and empowerment of young women affected by breast and ovarian cancer nationwide. Churchill Downs invites Kentucky Oaks fans, like you, to donate, too! There will be donation stations located throughout the Churchill Downs facility on Kentucky Oaks Day, and guests will also receive a pink ribbon to accessorize with and to support the cause.

Churchill Downs will also continue to support the mission of Horses & Hope, which is to increase breast cancer awareness, education, screening, and treatment referrals among Kentucky horse industry workers and their families. Churchill Downs will donate $30,000 to Horses and Hope in addition to $1 for the sale of each Oaks Lily, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks. The Kentucky Oaks will also feature the Survivors parade, sponsored by Kroger in partnership with Kindred Healthcare. The Survivors Parade is a march of breast and ovarian cancer survivors and takes place on Churchill Downs’ historic racetrack. This year, 141 breast and ovarian cancer survivors will participate in the parade directly prior to the 141st running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks race.

The fun will continue on Saturday with the Kentucky Derby where fans can partake in many traditions, including a mint julep toast to the winner and seeing the garland of roses. Guests can also have fun in the infield, which features the third turn party where guests can let loose and have fun, or, for a more family friendly setting on the opposite end of the infield, guests can have family picnics and bring children to play in the grass.