Derby Proud

From the Oxmoor Lodge….

I didn’t expect to be writing another Blog so soon, however, my local pride arose like the orange glow of the morning sun that greets us on a beautiful May morning in Kentucky – especially in my hometown, Louisville.

I don’t mean to brag but…of course I do.

There is no place in this universe like Louisville during the two weeks before the first Saturday in May. Derby in Louisville is like the Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl, the 4th of July, and other great occasions all rolled up in one.

Louisvillians become ambassadors of good will, the hot air balloons are never more beautiful, soaring through the skies with more grace than ever, and the bourbon is never as mellow. The ladies (with their couture hats) are so pretty and the horses are so fast – or vice versa!

Packed into those two weeks are:

A Marathon, Bed Races, the spirits race, the Great Balloon Glow (where they inflate the balloons against the night sky with musical accompaniment) and the Balloon Race itself.

A wonderful art show with pieces by our students in the local public schools, the Great Steamboat Race (always the underdog Belle of Louisville vs bigger leaner machines), the Pull for Post Position for the Derby, Thunder Over Louisville, (the largest fireworks show in North America), the Pegasus Pin drawing for fabulous prizes and the Pegasus Parade, with this year’s marshal being Cyndi Lauper!

The opening of the Waterfront Park Chow Wagons, Kentucky Oaks Pink Out (pink is the official color of the Kentucky Oaks – the Friday race that belongs to the locals strutting their stuff a day before the rest of the world is at the Downs), and hundreds of parties in homes all over Louisville thrown both by folks like you and me and Derby Royalty such as the Barnstable twins- where every celebrity lucky enough to be in Louisville the first weekend in May vies for an invite.

And last but certainly not least, the Kentucky Derby itself, when not only in Louisville, but all over the U.S., people stop what they are doing to watch the greatest two minutes in racing. Many tears are shed when the singing of My Old Kentucky Home commences, especially by those far away from home.

The tradition never is forgotten – even by those who have migrated to other places. I know many miles away a group of the most talented and brainiest New Yorkers get together, have specialties like Mint Juleps and Pimento Cheese sandwiches, make bets, and draw horses out of a hat to celebrate the Derby every year. To the likes of Tim Harris, Tara Key and Josh Madell of Antietam, Dawn Madell and Trixie, Ira and Georgia of Yo La Tengo and others of the same group of talents, I send special cheers your way. Have a great Derby Day, kids!

I ask your forgiveness, but my pride made me do it. I hope all horses and jockeys have a great safe race!

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4 thoughts on “Derby Proud

  1. Thanks for your post, June! I couldn’t agree with your sentiments more. Don’t you feel sorry for everyone who isn’t a Louisvillian this week?!

  2. June, well said. When I lived in Charleston, SC a group of displaced Kentuckians would get together for Derby. As you say the race is just the tip of the iceberg…..all that comes before just builds the momentum.. Enjoyed your blog. Pat at Oxmoor

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  4. I spent many Derbys away from Louisville but always watched the run. I always cry when My Old Kentucky Home is sung. I thought Mary J. Blige did us proud this year & her red gloves so elegant. Thanks for getting back to the blog.
    Lisa Feather (Tara & Tim’s old friend)

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