Each year, as the longest continually running sporting event in the United States, the Kentucky Derby draws thousands of revelers to watch what’s known as the “Run for the Roses”™”.   

As a proud partner of the Kentucky Derby, FTD also has a longstanding legacy. Founded in 1910, when the Derby was turning 35, FTD’s network of local florists has helped people make moments special — even when they can’t be there. 

If you won’t be one of the more than 150,000 revelers descending on the Derby in person this year, you can still have a ball with “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”™. Here are five tips for throwing a spectacular Derby watch party of your own

Gussy Up Your Hats

The Kentucky Derby is many things, including something of an American fashion event, making the people-watching superb. Beautiful sundresses, seersuckers, cocktail dresses and formal attire cast a wide net on what’s possible. The common denominator, however, is effort—and a big floral derby hat, of course. So find your biggest hat and gussy it up with flowers, feathers or fabrics—the frillier the better.

Make the Juleps

Mint Juleps have been the traditional drink of the race for nearly a century, and almost 120,000 of them will be enjoyed over Derby weekend. It’s as delicious in the Kentucky heat as it is in your backyard, and just as easy to make. Simply mix mint leaves in simple syrup, add 2 oz. of Woodford Reserve bourbon, and pack the glass with crushed ice, stirring until the glass is frosty. Then top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig, and a few drops of bitters (optional). And voilà, a lively watch party has begun. 

Fill it with Flowers

From the iconic Garland of Roses draped on the winning horse to festooning Millionaire’s Row to the lynchpin of everyone’s derby hat, flowers are the definitive décor for the Kentucky Derby. Order an expertly designed FTD bouquet that’s arranged and delivered by your local florist so it’s there in time for your Derby party, or get some roses to stud your topiary to bring the spirit of the event to immersive life.

Fan Out the Food

For a festive snack, whip up Benedictine spread, invented a century back by Louisville food purveyor Jennie Carter Benedict: Simply blend cream cheese, cucumber, dill, scallions, mayo and lemon juice and serve with crudité. But if all that sounds exhausting, these baskets of delectable fruits, meats and cheeses are perfect for entertaining and require zero prep work. 

Place Your Bets

If you and your friends are looking to up the intrigue and excitement, consider picking your prize horse and placing a few bets on the big race. You can pick your winning horse by the best name, color, or handicapping like the pros.

P.S. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to attend next year’s Derby for free? Enter FTD’s 2023 Run for the Roses™ Sweepstakes for the chance to win two tickets — and a cash prize. Be on the lookout for more details.

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