Back in the olden days, the Kentucky Derby was an activity that only the privileged classes enjoyed. It was refined and extravagant in nature. VIP’s got their own seating areas, and the servants fetched whatever they wanted. The derby was originally organized by Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, after he returned from Europe and witnessed first-hand famous races in England and France. When he returned to his home in Kentucky, he organized the Louisville Jockey Club for the purpose of raising money to build racing facilities outside the city. The track was named Churchill Downs after John and Henry Churchill, who provided the land for the racetrack. The inaugural derby, held on May 17, 1875, was won by a colt named Aristides, the jockey was Oliver Lewis.
There are a number of traditions associated with the derby. Most famously is the mint julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and a sugar syrup. There is also burgoo, a thick stew of beef, chicken, pork and vegetables. And of course, we can’t forget the fine lavish outfits and hats worn by the women. Remember all these facts! They could come in handy and win you a round of drinks if you ever get into a trivia challenge.
West Laurel Hill’s Kentucky Derby Party is back and more stylish than ever. This premier derby party returns for its fifth year on Saturday, May 6, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and proceeds will benefit Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy for the third year in a row.
Izenberg’s Catering‘s menu features traditional derby fare, like hot browns, cheesy grits, pecan pie and relax at the party’s first cigar bar (weather permitting) along with two horse and carriages for a ride through WLH’s historic and beautiful grounds. Celebrity guest fashion judges will be eyeing up the crowd to hand-pick the best dressed male, female, bowtie, and hat of the evening, and an Instashack photo booth will be there to capture everyone dressed to the nines in their derby attire. Let fashion fabulous artist Denise Fike get your outfit on paper with one of her must-have fashion illustrations.
For more information about West Laurel Hill and to follow along with derby party updates, visit their website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. For more information about Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy, visit their website or Facebook page.
Incorporated in 1869, West Laurel Hill is a non-profit and non-denominational cemetery/funeral home and a 187-acre arboretum and outdoor sculpture garden rich in cultural and social history. West Laurel Hill is a proud supporter of the community and has become the destination for fundraising in Philadelphia and the Main Line.
Here are some pictures from last years’ derby day at West Laurel Hill!
The non-profit organization Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy was founded with the intent of providing therapeutic horseback riding (also known as “equine-facilitated therapy”). The mission of Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy is to enhance the quality of life of individuals with cognitive, physical, emotional or behavioral disabilities by providing them with affordable therapeutic horseback riding and associated special education of the highest possible quality, in a warm, safe and familiar environment.