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The Ten Best Derby Day Events — Now With 40 Percent More Cinco de Mayo

If you're going to pretend to be Southern for a day, at least eat your fried okra.
If you're going to pretend to be Southern for a day, at least eat your fried okra. Danielle Lirette

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click to enlarge Settle into those comfy bar stools for a day of watching the ponies at Julep. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Settle into those comfy bar stools for a day of watching the ponies at Julep.
Danielle Lirette
Julep
Cinco de Derby, noon to 5 p.m.
3258 Larimer Street
303-295-8977

Julep is the newest joint in town trying to ensure that the South's food rises again, and it's perhaps the most successful at creating a Southern-Gothic-meets-modern-cocktail-bar vibe. The kitchen turns out tasty and interesting food (like the unlikely brisket yakimein), and the dining room's floral wallpaper is a beautifully modern take on your grandma's cabbage-rose-print sofa. So our guess is that Julep's Cinco de Mayo and Derby mashup party will be equally fun. For $55, you'll get three cocktails, whole roast pig with sides, and appetizers inspired by the epic septennial convergence of the two events on the same day (or at least so it seems). Find details and ticket at the restaurant's Facebook page.

The Ginn Mill
Derby Day, noon to 6 p.m.
2041 Larimer Street
303-295-0706

The Ginn Mill has never been a place for pretense, and it makes no bones about what it is: This perennial bar-crawl stop and club is where you go to get drunk as a skunk for not too much money and go home with someone you'll regret almost instantly (especially if the two of you can't agree on a brunch destination the morning after). But on Derby Day, the bar is offering a deal so mind-bogglingly cheap it made our jaws drop, and there's no doubt it will turn the wood-paneled bar into an incubator of bad judgment. Behold: $20 for all you can drink. The party's classed up a bit — just a bit — with yard games and a photographer, but you know that's not why you'll go. Our advice? Get that picture taken before you puke on your pastel suit, bro. Find out more on Facebook.

Blackbird Public House
Kentucky de Mayo: The Quest for the Golden Sombrero, noon to 8 p.m.
305 South Downing Street
303-733-3923

Perhaps the least dignified — but the most fun — way to celebrate the day is by loading up on bourbon and racing a stick horse around a parking lot. And that's exactly what you can do at Blackbird's shindig. Register yourself and three friends at kentuckydemayodenver.com for $120 (which includes drinks, food, raffle tickets and stick horses), or just show up to cheer on the competitors (which won't cost you a thing). It's off to the races!

click to enlarge Get happy at the Curio Bar on Derby Day. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Get happy at the Curio Bar on Derby Day.
Danielle Lirette
Curio at Denver Central Market
DaniDerby Day, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
2669 Larimer Street

Half the fun of the Denver Central Market is watching people from all walks of life stream through the doors, so spending your Derby Day there promises to be even more entertaining. Curio wants to make your time at the the Market memorable, and is throwing an outdoor party that includes private bars, lawn games and live music. Find out more at the event's Facebook page, but if you want to purchase a ticket, $40, go directly to nightout.com (Facebook links to last year's event). Don't have your outfit picked out yet? No worries: Milliner Goorin Bros. will be at the party, along with a Derby suit and accessories pop-up shop, so there's no excuse for not being the best-dressed.

The Bluegrass
Derby de Mayo, 2 to 11 p.m.
7415 Grandview Street, Arvada
720-338-6683

Just because you can get twice as drunk this Derby Day/Cinco de Mayo doesn't mean you should. But don't tell that to the folks at this Arvada joint, who will be creating fusion food and drinks to celebrate the day. Tequila juleps and bourbon margaritas are on the agenda, as well as the improbable Hot Brown pizza. If you're not familiar with the iconic Louisville, Kentucky, sandwich called the Hot Brown, think turkey breast on thick slices of bread topped with tomatoes, mornay sauce, pecorino cheese and bacon, but the Bluegrass is ditching the bread in favor of a pizza crust. We're taking wagers on whether the creation will be a delicious fusion, a hot mess, or both. Details are up on Facebook.

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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation