Plan Your Own Derby Party

Party Ideas

The Derby is not just about horse racing. It's about the magic that makes the first Saturday in May unique in sports, fashion and style and how people come together to honor Southern traditions. Whether you prefer a traditional theme...something more modern...or just good friends and family getting together for an afternoon of fun.

These ideas will get you started:

The Infield

Build your Party as if you are inside the track! Set up grillers and slip’n slide for a rip roarin’ good time! The idea is to dress comfortably, party like you are at a tailgate, and play plenty of games throughout the day with your friends!


  • BBQ
  • Flip Flops
  • Beaded Necklaces to hand out for the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”
  • Mint Juleps to cheers the Winner’s Circle
  • Slip N Slide
  • Beer Pong -Make your own table with a piece of plywood and paint your favorite silks on the table
  • Corn Hole (Bean Bag Toss)
  • Dress like a satirist and give an award for funniest costume
  • Potato Sac Race
  • Stick Horse Races
  • Wagering Contest

Racing Silks

Having a Silks theme at your Party is colorful and exuberant. Show favoritism for your lucky horse or showcase all silk designs for fun! Allure your friends and family to experience the Derby in colorful style. Use the following elements to design your day!


  • Dress Codes:
    • Red Carpet Style: Women with scarves and men with patterned ties
    • Jockey Club: Require everyone to design their own silk to wear
  • Table Décor with cloths, placemats, and napkins to look like silks
  • Serving dishes to be colorful and emulate silks
  • Flavored punch or beverages to be served in color
  • Bake cookies and design them with icing to look like silks
  • Hang flags outside or create a strand of silks by using fishing line, construction paper, and tape. (much like prayer flags)

Sorority / Fraternity Party

Much like a mixer you would have in college, this theme can be creative, wild, and fun! Allow your Sorority Sisters to walk down a red carpet into an Infield style party! Everyone wants a glamorous feel and a fun party. So put on your flip flops and gear up for dancing, corn hole, and fun music while the horses Run for the Roses!


  • Dress Code:
    • Brothers: Shorts, Ties, Sunglasses, and Flip Flops
    • Sisters: Sun Dresses, Hats, Flip Flops, and fun jewelry
  • Beer Pong
  • Corn Hole (Bean Bag Toss)
  • Oyster Roast
  • BBQ
  • Playlists available for your music needs
  • Write a Kentucky Derby Chant with your Sorority/Fraternity name to celebrate “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”

Red Carpet

Create an invitation for your friends to arrive in style and walk the red carpet. Whether you want to dress up in costume as a celebrity or simply glam yourself in fashion for fun, this theme is entertaining and all together exciting! Have the red carpet lead into your home, office building, or the country club! Beware, the paparazzi may be watching!


  • Contests:
    • Best Dressed – Male & Female
    • Celebrity Look Alike
    • Hat Contest – Best Overall and Most Creative
    • Derby Winner Contest – “Who’s your pick?”
  • Create a backdrop along the red carpet for commemorative photos
  • Rope off the entrance
  • Present champagne glasses at the door
  • Name that Celebrity as they walk on the Red Carpet with NBC

Visit our Red Carpet Fashion gallery for more inspiration!