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It’s Kentucky Derby Day!

Today is the 463rd running of the Kentucky Derby! The Derby has a bit more importance to me, as I lived a year in Louisville, so I got to experience it first hand. The actual Derby is a culmination of a two-week long party, called smartly “The Kentucky Derby Festival” From the world’s largest fireworks display (Thunder over Louisville) to endless celebrity parties and about 20 races, the Festival takes over the city. Think of Artprize, with horse racing. And drinking.

Churchill Downs is in a shady part of Louisville. About a mile from the University of Louisville, the area around the track is filled with rundown houses and pay day loan stores. Inside it’s a playground for the rich and well to do. You can’t really get a feel for the area from the blimp shots during the race telecast. You should visit it once.

And remember the drinking thing I talked about? The drink of choice is…well everything. The most famous drink of the Derby is the Mint Julip. But in town it’s really only served during the Derby, and it’s pricey. Like 11 bucks for one. Mint isn’t exactly a common flavoring in most taverns, and they jack the price up to take advantage of tourists. Here’s a story about how you can make Mint Julip jello shots! We as a society are pretty crafty!

I also remember Derby Day as a kid. Growing up, our first Little League game of the year was on the first Saturday in May. Same as the Derby. We would play the first game, then go to RJ’s sports bar and the kids would eat hamburgers and the adults would watch the Derby. I always REALLY associate the start of Spring with the first Saturday in May…Derby Day!

johnsfon/ThinkStock

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