(photo courtesy of Kentucky Derby Festival)
The Run for the Rose’ is one of my personal favorite Derby events. It’s about wine, which is a subject close to my heart, and running, which is something I’m totally in favor of . . .in theory if not in practice. Here’s the basic concept: Contestants representing local bars and restaurants are given a serving tray, a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and five plastic wineglasses. When the starter’s pistol goes off they have to uncork the wine, pour it into the glasses on the tray, and carry the tray around the bases of Slugger Field (before Slugger Field was built they had a different course, but I digress). At the finish line they hand over their tray to have their wine measured. Their final score is calculated from a complicated equation combining how much wine they had left and how fast they ran the course. I am proud to say that a relative of mine took second place two years running representing the Hard Rock Cafe. He a smooth, long-legged, low-to-the ground style that kept that wine in the glasses quite nicely. This is also one of those Derby events that can easily be adapted for a home Derby Party, especially a kid-friendly one. Think plastic plates instead of trays, and cups of lemonade or water instead of glasses of wine. Set up a backyard course and make sure the video camera is charged up!
Who are you sure to see at the Run for the Rose’ as well as at all the other Derby Festival events throughout the week? Why, the Derby Princesses, of course! The Derby Princesses are five young women selected every year to represent Kentucky at all the Derby Festival events. They are selected based on academic achievement, community involvement, and knowledge of Kentucky Derby history. They undergo a complicated application and interview process and, if selected, will attend over seventy Derby Festival events over the course of two weeks. Typically, these are college Juniors and Seniors who will have to re-schedule finals to meet the demands of being a Derby Princess – this is a serious commitment! You will see them, beautifully dressed and coiffed, at all events. Scorching sun, driving rain, strong winds, deep mud, drunken and disorderly attendees? They deal with it all with a smile and a wave of a neatly-manicured hand. A friend I graduated from college with confided that as a Derby Princess she was instructed that ONLY pale pink nail polish or a French manicure was appropriate for a Princess. So I’m guessing visible tattoos, facial piercings, and blue streaks in your hair are out as well. For your home Derby party I’m thinking all you need are a few tiaras from your local costume-and-party-supply store and everyone who wants to can be a Princess. Who doesn’t enjoy wearing a tiara every now and then?