For the past week or so, we've given you tips about all the special events and observations that make the Kentucky Derby such an incredible and unique event. As we bid you a Happy Derby Day, I want to reflect on my very favorite aspect of Derby: the sense of community that unites Kentuckians, especially Louisvillians.
The Kentucky Derby can be, as the gonzo genius Dr. Thompson wrote, Decadent and Depraved. Of course it can; there's bourbon to drink and bets to be made. Things can get really weird in a hurry.
But, the thing that is so very magical about the Kentucky Derby is that it isn't just a horse race. It isn't merely a day, or a single occasion. It's Louisville's very own two-week Carnival Season. There's something for folks of every age and income bracket, from parades and firework displays and food trucks to galas and private parties.
My favorite part, though, is the way that the youngest residents of the Commonwealth aren't excluded from the festivities.
Throughout Louisville, there are opportunities for kiddos to celebrate Derby. Of course, they can watch the Pegasus Parade, but many local preschools and elementary schools also put on parades of their own. Last year, I even saw some little girls in my neighborhood dressed up in their Sunday best on Derby morning, running a Mocktails stand. (They had non-alcoholic mint juleps and everything, y'all. Cutest. Thing. Ever.)
I love that these kiddos get to have fun with Derby week in their own way. If it teaches them a little bit about tradition -- and maybe even the words to our state song -- then that's even better!
Happy Derby to your entire family from HerKentucky!!!