Here are the top 7 ways we prepared for and experienced the Derby:
1) Make hats
Fashion is not as important to any sporting event as it is to the Kentucky Derby. When it comes to hats, the bigger, the better. Making a hat is truly the way to go for the creative ones out there!
The before shot of my Derby hat vs. the after!
Some fabulous hat sightings of the Derby. If your head tilts though, doesn't that mean the hat is too big?
Hotels are way too expensive during this weekend. We flew into Nashville, rented a car for the 3-hour drive into Louisville, and CouchSurfed with a friendly masseuist. She also greeted us with home-baked goods for the weekend. Total cost per person of flight, travel, and accomodations from Boston to Louisville for the weekend? Just $323 for one of the most expensive weekends in the country!
3) Bring a raincoat
This one caught us by surprise! It usually rains a bit every year, but this year it was pouring. You can be chic (like Evie) or overly-prepared (like me), but it is a good idea to have something weather-proof as wearing plastic ponchos are no fun.
Beautiful hats and beautiful dresses? Maybe under that plastic poncho...
Clearly the Ghostsbusters costume is the best rain coat of them all!
4) Eat a turkey leg
$12 for the best goodness and deliciousness you've had in your life.
I was more than happy for the turkey leg and mint julep
5) Drink a mint julep for $12 each
You get to keep the glass cups as souvenirs (which are usually $6 a pop). Worth it as every year, the cups change and the drink is a Derby staple.
6) Bet on the horses
Though this seems like a no-brainer, it can be too easy to get caught in the infield enjoying the sights and sounds of everything. Though I bet $5 for our CouchSuring host for Overanalyze to win it all, you can also make "across-the-board" bets (meaning a horse will place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd) which I did for Charming Kitten on behalf of another friend. Though neither horse placed, it's a rush to cheer for your horse during the "greatest two minutes in history."
Horse sighting is exciting (and rare) from the infield!
7) Use the shuttles or reserve a taxi
Thousands of people trying to leave at the same time makes getting home difficult. We walked for a good thirty minutes before finding a taxi, but using the shuttles to get to your car would have costed just $10. We made a rookie mistake.
Overall, glad we did the Derby and glad to have checked it off the bucket list!