Although I recommend friends visit Louisville during the state fair, the obvious time to visit Louisville is for the Kentucky Derby. After four years, I’ve still not been to Derby or Oaks, but that doesn’t meant I won’t miss Derby season while we’re in Cambridge.
I love the time leading up to Derby. It starts with Thunder, another event I’ve managed to miss (we did go for about an hour two years ago, but it was much too cold at 4 p.m. to stick around for another five hours). And then there are more events — balloon races, steamboat races, bed races, concerts, an art fair, a parade, parties — you could just do Derby-related things for weeks. I love how plans just get delayed — “Let’s do it after Derby.”
I find it a bit stressful figuring out what to do on Derby day. Are we going to a party? Can we make it to both these parties? Do I need to get a hat? Why are these hats so expensive? My favorite Derby so far was a potluck at a friend’s house. Everyone had hats and most of them came off shortly after people arrived. We listened to the race on the radio. There were delicious brisket sandwiches.
I don’t put much effort into betting. I just like looking at the hats, looking for B-list celebrities, and drinking mint juleps. I tear up at My Old Kentucky Home (even though my old home, if I have one, would be in Texas). Come the first weekend of May 2015, I doubt the people of Boston will wish me a “Happy Derby,” and I will miss that.