8 Ways to Celebrate the Kentucky Derby in Rhode Island

Mint juleps, anyone? Visit one of these Kentucky Derby parties and benefits dressed in your fancy hat and Derby best.
Horse Racing Racing Day Luncheon Table Setting

Photograph via Getty Images/Mille Flore Images.

Two minutes. That’s it. People across the country dress up and wear big hats for an event that lasts just two minutes. For almost 150 years, visitors have gathered at Churchill Downs in Kentucky to sip mint juleps and cheer for horses and jockeys racing around a dirt track for a total of 120 seconds. It’s arguably the most exciting two minutes in all of sports. If you can’t make it down South for the Derby, there are plenty of local places that are celebrating the big event on Saturday, May 6, with parties and benefits where you can dress up as if you’re witnessing the race first hand.

Linden Place

Derby day art

Art by Liesl Long Chaintreuil

Dig out your prettiest dress or  seersucker jacket for Linden Place’s annual bash. At the day party, dance along to tunes by the eight-piece Down City Band, cocktails in hand. Throughout the night party, enjoy dinner, mint juleps, live music, auctions, prizes, a bourbon tasting and a livestream of the 149th Kentucky Derby. Proceeds benefit Linden Place and the restoration of its 243-year-old summer house, along with youth educational outreach to encourage a greater understanding of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in Rhode Island. 5­–11 p.m. $150. Linden Place, 500 Hope St., Bristol, 253-0390, lindenplace.org


Project Confidence

From horse race raffles and prizes for those deemed best dressed, Project Confidence’s Kentucky Derby fundraiser at Brass Monkey invites guests to bet on their favorite horse, sip on complimentary mint juleps and support a great cause. Project Confidence provides hygienic and personal care products for underserved youth in the state. Make sure to donate any toiletries for the nonprofit’s Confidence Kits filled with hair products, body wash, oral hygiene supplies and more. 5–8 p.m. $55. Brass Monkey, 800 Allens Ave., Providence, 785-1818, brassmonkeyri.com


MAE Organization 

The second annual “Taking the Reins” on Homelessness fundraiser event offers delectable hors d’oeuvres and the chance to enter the fashion show for best hat and tie. Participate in the live and silent auction and more. 5–8 p.m. $75–$100. Park Theatre, 848 Park Ave., Cranston, maeorg.org


The Ballroom at the Providence G

The race might be only two minutes long, but Providence G Pub will celebrate the 149th Run for the Roses for hours (between 5 and 8 p.m., actually). The party will include a livestream of the race with hors d’oeuvres, cocktail specials, a best-dressed contest and live entertainment. Style judges will be on hand to determine three different winners: Too Hot To Trot – Best Dressed Lady, Dappen Dan – Best Dressed Man, and the Daily Double – Best Dressed Couple. Tickets are $40 per person.  100 Dorrance St., Providence, 401-383-8819, providencegevents.com


Rogue Island Local Kitchen and Bar

The mint julep, once a cure for an upset stomach, has been the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby since the race first began, and Rogue Island Local Kitchen and Bar will be pouring them on draft in the hours leading up to the race at their tenth annual Kentucky Derby brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The special menu will be serving up some Derby classics with spins from the Rogue Island kitchen. 65 Weybosset St., Suite 108, 401-831-3733, rogueislandgroup.com


Derby hats

Derby day fashion at the Fraid Knots Pan Mass Challenge party.

Fraid Knots Pan Mass Challenge Team

The Fraid Knots Pan Mass Challenge Team is hopping off their bikes for a special fundraiser on Derby Day to support their cause of honoring cancer victims and survivors and helping find a cure. Back by popular demand, the annual fundraiser will take place at Blue Water Bar and Grill in Barrington beginning at 5 p.m. The night includes a viewing of the races and getting your money’s worth at the Hot Kentucky-themed three-course buffet for only $75 per person. facebook.com/fraidknots


Kin Southern Table and Bar

Kin is encouraging their patrons to go all out bougie at their Derby Day Party. The party will take place from 2–10 p.m. and for just $10 a pop  (or $25 for VIP) you can watch a live stream of the race, find your best angle with a 360-degree photo booth by @fabliving360, take part in a best dressed contest, indulge in delicious hors d’oeuvres + cocktail specials (available for purchase) and enjoy live entertainment. 71 Washington St., Providence, 401-537-7470, kinpvd.com


Moonshine Alley 

Providence’s popular Nashville-inspired restaurant/bar is encouraging Derby lovers to round up their friends and their best derby hats and attire to watch the race on their jumbo screen. They will be slinging mint juleps and cocktails all day and night. 52 Pine St., Providence, 401-861-0001, moonshinealley.com



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