Kentucky Derby In Living Color

Time once again for the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY, where the horses will be lightning fast🐎, the Kentucky bourbon will freely flow🥃, the chapeaux will be grand👒🎩, and brilliant primary colors will take center stage for both jockeys and spectators. This relaxed tablescape reflects a bit of all that and more for those of us unable to join the revelers at Churchill Downs in person for that 1-1/2 mile thrill known as The Kentucky Derby.🏇

(P.S. If you got that reference to “in living color” in the title, you – like me – are o.l.d.!!!!!😄)

Inspiration for this tablescape the first of two I’ve created for this year) came about while browsing the showroom at Nell Hill’s in Kansas City, MO. The showy hues of the jockey silks reminded me of how colorful the Derby truly is even beyond the ladies’ hats in the stands.

With the energetic riot of color all around, I kept the centerpiece relatively simple using only the Derby’s signature red roses in a sleek trophy cup flanked by horse heads.

“And they’re off!” Here’s where the REAL show of color runs! Multicolored straw runners are the foundation for a cobalt blue charger, chartreuse and red plates, and tri-color stemware. Notice the unusual way in which I offset the stack to best show off the colors. The Pomegranate Derby-inspired napkins from Nell Hill’s depict the fabulous array of tones used for jockey silks.

A single horseshoe embellishes each end of the table runners.

The traditional drinking vessel of the Kentucky Derby: the silver mint julep cup!

I used two different Pomegranate cocktail napkins because I couldn’t decide on just one! The napkins are nestled into individual trophy cups from Michael’s at each place setting.

No race day fête is complete without an aromatic and calorie-free (😉) Derby pie!

I can’t believe I didn’t include Woodford Reserve here🤦🏽‍♀️, but a generous selection of Kentucky bourbons is always a nice touch as guests have their favorites.

A cavalcade of miniature julep cups for taste testing various brands!🥃🥃🥃

Absolutely no Kentucky Derby celebration properly comes together without a dashing chapeau for the gents (my late Dad’s straw Stetson is a winner!) and a wildly styled hat for the ladies…the bigger, broader, and bolder the better!!!

Whip up or order in some wonderful food, create a fun atmosphere, grab your hat, choose your favorite to wind up in the winner’s circle, and settle in for the greatest 2 minutes in sports!

I’ll post a more formal Kentucky Derby tablescape in a few days. Meanwhile, if you’d like to check out Derby tablescapes from previous years on this site: