We had an absolutely fabulous Derby weekend! Our love of the Derby is long-standing, and I have to admit that it's primarily because of the fashion. We made a trip down to Louisville in 2013 for Kentucky Derby weekend, just months before opening Me & Billy, and that solidified our obsession with all things Derby-related!
Collins Family visited Churchill Downs in 2013: Kentucky Oaks | Kentucky Derby
As we brainstormed ideas for Spring events that first year, we knew we had to throw a Kentucky Derby Bash! The idea morphed into hosting two parties, adding an event just for ladies on Friday to celebrate the Kentucky Oaks, which was one of our favorite experiences at Churchill Downs.
2014 Derby events: Collins girls at the Kentucky Oaks Ladies Cocktail Event | Mint Julep Tasting with MRDC | Collins Family at the Kentucky Derby Bash
This weekend marked our third year of Derby events! Each time we try to change things up a bit. In 2014, we added a Mint Julep Tasting with our pals over at Mississippi River Distilling Company. We love their products so much that we use their bourbon in our Mint Julep recipe every year! Our first trunk show with Studio 910 began in 2015 and has become an annual collaboration. This year we added a donation drive for Humility of Mary Shelter to the Friday Oaks event.
2015 Derby events: Sarah, Carrie DeVine and Fran at the Studio 910 Trunk Show | Billy with all the gals at the Kentucky Oaks Ladies Cocktail Event | Collins Family at the Kentucky Derby Bash
From top left: 2016 Derby events: Brooke Terronez (the designer) and Fran at the Studio 910 Trunk Show | Collins girls at the Kentucky Oaks Ladies Social | Collection of donated items for Humility of Mary Shelter | Collins Family at the Kentucky Derby Bash
Some traditions are carried through from year to year. Inspired by the Kentucky Oaks "Pink Out" and fashion contest, we do a giveaway to the Most Elegant Woman at the Friday event. We're always so amazed at how all the ladies get into the pink theme! Of course, it wouldn't be a Kentucky Derby party without the traditional cocktails, the Oaks Lily and Mint Julep, as well as Derby-inspired fare. Billy is in charge of the bets for fun, keeping track of all the horses in the big race!
In hopes of a Triple Crown winner, we also keep a close eye on the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. I love that each race has a specialty cocktail (Black-Eyed Susan and Belmont Jewel, respectively), and will take any excuse to wear a hat! We'll see if Nyquist can pull it off this year!