You've picked your horse, you've dusted off your largest hat, and you're ready for your annual guzzling of mint juleps -- but if Churchill Downs isn't in your weekend travel plans, where shall you go? Westword has compiled a list of the best derby-themed parties taking place in parking lots, five-star hotels and galleries across town that are sure to put a little giddy-up in your step this weekend.
Artists on Santa Fe's "Win, Place or SHOW" Where: 747 Santa Fe Drive When: May 1-June 3 Cost: Free Proving that the derby is far longer than just the "greatest two minutes in sports," Artists on Santa Fe is presenting a month-long Kentucky Derby "Win, Place or SHOW" exhibit. With a focus on art that pays homage to the Kentucky Derby, the event will feature two floors of art created in a variety of media including ceramics, painting, photography, sculpture and jewelry.
Bar Car's Third Annual Kentucky Derby party Where: 819 Colorado Boulevard When: May 4, 2- 6 p.m. Cost: $5 If you've lost too much money on the ponies lately, the $5 cover at The Bar Car might make this the event for you. In the parking lot next to the bar, this derby-themed party will feature two bands, a projection screen TV, a pizza-eating contest and a hat competition. There will also be carnival games and a photo booth to raise money for Team-in-Training, the fundraising arm of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The main bar will be open at 1 p.m. for a pre-party drink.
Central Bistro and Bar's "High Hat" party Where: 1691 Central St. When: May 4th, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Cost: $6 mint juleps If your hat is particularly high, try Central Bistro and Bar's "High Hat" party. The five-hour event will feature food and drink specials on dishes including mint juleps and Kentucky hot brown sandwiches. Wear your best "high hat" to be entered for a chance to win dinner for two.
Industry Denver's "The Three Greatest Courses in Horses and Kentucky Derby Spectator Social" Where: 3090 Downing Street When: May 4, 1 p.m. Cost: $45-70 If fueling up on food is more important to you than downing juleps, Industry Denver's "The Three Greatest Courses in Horses & Kentucky Derby Spectator Social" might be the party for you. During this partnership with the Colorado Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, the three-course meal begins well before the race starts. Guests will be treated to a Kentucky-style supper and paired cocktails designed and prepared by Matt Selby of Corner House, Jensen Cummings from Slotted Spoon, Courtney Wilson of Old Major and other top-notch local chefs and mixologists. Following the "Greatest Three Courses," the "Spectator Social" will kick off at 2 p.m. with a complimentary cocktail. Tickets are available for purchase at Corner House, Gaetano's, TAG or online at Industry Denver's website.
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The Wildlife Experience Museum's "Art of the Race" Where: 10035 Peoria Street in Parker When: May 4th, 2:30-5 p.m. Cost: $20-25 If the standard sportsbar TV will not do, trot over to The Wildlife Experience Museum's "Art of the Race" party, which will will broadcast the race on a 53-foot large-format theater screen. Partygoers will enjoy complimentary cocktails, a live performance by the Railsplitters, southern-themed hors d'oeuvres and hat and best-dressed contests. Visit the Wildlife Experience's website to purchase tickets.