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Kentucky Derby Party: Infield Theme

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Kentucky Derby party ideas

Looking for a reason to party this weekend, but “Hats ‘n’ Heels” isn’t really your thing? Not to worry! One of the best things about the Kentucky Derby is the wide variety of personalities – and methods of celebration – that it attracts.

We’re talking both ends of the spectrum here… from the “lifestyles of the rich & famous” Millionaire’s Row to the wild & rowdy crew making up the infamous Infield, which has been described as “comparing only to Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras”. (A quick YouTube or Google search will help explain why!)

Kentucky Derby party ideas

So how do you bring the Infield home to your own crew if you’re nowhere near Churchill Downs? Easy! For starters, head to your local party supply store and pick up a bunch of plastic beads and crazy hats & sunglasses. Emphasis on the “crazy” part.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? PHOTO OPP! The opportunity to capture your friends & family on film in hilarious get-ups doesn’t come about every day, right? And after a Mint Julep or 2, even mom & dad might be striking poses!

Kentucky Derby party ideas

An Infield theme is all about casual, fun and clever/novelty decor. Create “Mini Infield” centerpieces from shallow vases filled with grass or a similar ground cover, then decorate the “mini Infields” with toy horses and beads or mini plastic trophies. Stick some straws out of the grass as a cheeky nod to the area’s “activity” of choice. (Ground cover is available in flats at places like Home Depot and local nurseries).

Keep the dress code casual so that guests can participate in fun picnic-style games like potato sack races, bean bag toss, and beer pong. (More great photo opps here!)

On the Menu:
Fire up the grill! Cook up your favorite BBQ menu – but be sure to add some Southern flair! Need some recipe ideas? Find a bunch of them here.

What to Pour:
Mint Juleps are popular on the Infield too – but there’s always plenty of beer and cocktail alternatives flowing for those that don’t especially love bourbon or whiskey. Make sure you have a few different crowd-pleasers (including non-alcoholic options) on hand!


For more info on The Infield – check out KentuckyDerby.com… and for more party ideas or to purchase Derby themed cups & partyware, check out KentuckyDerbyParty.com.

By |2016-12-25T10:05:50-07:00April 29th, 2009|Kentucky Derby, Party Decor Projects, Theme Parties|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. MixMingleGlow April 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Posting Mint Julep Brownies on my site and some other goodies later tonight! Stay tuned!

  2. Susan R. April 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    So much FUN! After the ridiculous week I’ve already had, I could really use a good excuse to get a little crazy and party this weekend!

  3. Kentucky Horse Racing February 18, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Derby parties are so much fun! At my annual Derby party, Mint Juleps are always the drink of the day, and Kentucky Derby Pie is the preferred dessert.

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