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Five Kentucky Derby parties that will have you off to the races

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You don't have to go to Kentucky to find a reason to wear a fancy hat on Saturday: Places all over town are hooking parties to the Kentucky Derby. And even if you're not into horse-racing, there will plenty of other things to appreciate: the fashion, the boozy mint juleps, the old-timey slang...and the chihuahuas.

Here are some of the leading contenders in Saturday's Derby party sweepstakes:

5. Art of the Race

Who: Anyone who likes to support a good cause while watching the Run for the Roses.

What: An event benefiting the Wildlife Experience Museum, featuring complimentary juleps, art viewings, hat contests -- and the race itself on a giant, 53-foot screen.

Where: The Wildlife Experience, 10035 Peoria Street in Parker.

When: Saturday, May 5 from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

How much: $40 for members and $45 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased at museumtix.com. Only 300 tickets will be sold; the first 185 guests receive a poster highlighting a signature Derby oil painting by renowned artist Kay Witherspoon.

4. Chihuahua Derby

Who: For anyone who would rather see a little dog run, walk or wander toward the finish line.

What: The Chihuahua Derby lets tiny, absent-minded chihuahuas compete like the big dogs. They're all placed on a track; whichever pooch can make its way to the finish line first wins! Refreshments will be available for pets and people alike.

Where: The Petco at 10355 Federal Boulevard in Westminster.

When: Saturday, May 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

How much: The event is free, and if you have a chihuahua of your own, bring your pet down and enter it in the race!

3. Derby Girls & Bourbon Boys

Who: Young, flashy, attractive people who want to see and be seen. Just look the flier.

What: "Mint juleps and Southern fare" are pomised, as is the "season's hottest patio party." Of course, "derby chic" attire is preferred for this daytime soiree, so leave your tiny black cocktail dress or Tapout shirt at home. "South accent optional," states the poster, but after a few drinks, you'll be surprised how quickly "you all" rolls into a "y'all."

Where: Chloe Mezze Lounge, 1445 Market Street in Denver.

When: Saturday, May 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How much: No cost stated, but this is a LoDo nightclub, so bring cash.

2. Third Annual Kentucky Derby Party at The Lobby

Who: Anyone who just wants a good, old-fashioned race-watch party.

What: A party hosted by The Lobby, featuring a costume contest, beer pong tournaments, goldfish races and a fish fry. The full menu: "Chinese catfish, chicken tenders, braised ribs, cilantro cole slaw, andouille red beans, hush puppies, and pesto Caesar salad for only $15 a person."

Where: The Lobby American Grille at 2191 Arapahoe Street. in Denver.

When: Saturday, May 5 starting at 1 p.m. (RSVP on Facebook)

How much: Entry is free, the beer pong tournament costs $10 to enter and the fish fry is $15 per person.

1. Jockeys, Juleps and Jazz

Who: Anyone who wants to fight cancer while enjoying the race.

What: A charity event benefiting cancer foundation MyLifeLine.org. The event includes both live and silent auctions, a live band and a hat contest, so come dressed in your best derby attire.

Where: Four Seasons Hotel Denver, 1111 14th Street.

When: Saturday, May 5 from 3 to 7 p.m.

How much: Individual tickets are $100 each, but before you get sticker shock, remember that the proceeds are going to charity.

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