Story by Tiffany C. DuBois, Photos by Eric Morales
When one thinks of the Kentucky Derby, you think of mint juleps, good food, bowties, women’s fashion and hats. Especially the hats. West Laurel Hill’s derby day had all this and so much more. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. West Laurel Hill is a well know cemetery located in Bala Cynwyd. It is the site of many notable burials and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. It also has an arboretum and an outdoor sculpture garden.
So, how do you throw a derby party in the middle of a cemetery? Not to worry, they have it covered and have done it before. First of all, driving through the grounds, it is quite beautiful. The cemetery is exceptionally well maintained and quite large. The monuments and headstones look more as works of art. When we pulled up to the conservatory that would host the party, you soon forgot you were in the middle of a cemetery. The building itself was beautiful and elegant.
When we stepped inside, the layout was fantastic. It is spacious and there were windows everywhere to let in the natural light. Tables were set up with derby themed décor. Food was plentiful, as it was set up in a buffet style. There was a strawberry spinach salad, fried chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, tomato turkey sandwiches, and so much more, all courtesy of Izenberg’s Catering. Dessert was also plentiful especially with Cupcakes by Ruth. All of it was delicious! In addition, the drinks, especially the mint juleps, were freshly made and outstanding! There was also a live band to fill the space with appropriate derby music. Later in the day there were prizes given out to best dressed, best bowtie, best hat, just to name a few.
Beyond the main room, there was a smaller back room that featured a photo booth, another bar station, and you could get a fashion illustration of you done by noted local artist Denise Fike. Outside, carriage rides were being offered on this perfect spring day. All proceeds of this wonderful event went to benefit the Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy.
Back inside, there were two large screen televisions broadcasting the Kentucky Derby. Bets were placed and once the race started, eyes were glued to the screen. In the end, it was “Always Dreaming” that won the race. All in all, this was a fantastic derby day party. West Laurel Hill did a wonderful job and we will definitely be going back next year. They can and do host a number of events during the year. I highly recommend you give them a try for next years’ Kentucky Derby Day or if you are thinking of having an event, give them a look. You won’t be disappointed.