OFF TO THE RACES: KENTUCKY DERBY PARTIES
Cheer on your favorite horse, sip on mint juleps and enjoy fun festivities at Kentucky Derby parties around the Twin Cities
By Claire Noack
The Kentucky Derby is coming up on May 6 and the Twin Cities are ready to party. Breweries, restaurants and venues throughout Minneapolis-St. Paul are hosting Derby-themed festivities. So dust of your statement hats and roll out your seersucker blazers for a day at the races. Pick out a party from our list below and get ready to sip on mint juleps while cheering on your favorite horse.
Our very own horse racing track, Canterbury Park, in Shakopee will be kicking off their season during Derby weekend with the first Canterbury race of 2017 at 1:45 p.m. The party continues until 6 p.m. with live music from Boogie Wonderland on the Mystic Lake music stage, red carpet selfie station, Derby hat contest, free pony rides, petting zoo, face painting and, of course, showing the Kentucky Derby on screens around the venue. Check their website for all ticket prices and packages (some include drinks, food and more).
Betty Danger’s Country Club
The queen of Derby parties, Betty Danger’s Country Club in Northeast Minneapolis, is at it again with its Kentucky Derbatante. The festivities begin at 2:30 p.m. at the retro-inspired bar, and will include cocktail stations with themed drinks, grub at Betty’s Tex-Mex food truck, dancing and live music by DJ Strangelove, live ponies, a best hat contest, inflatable horse races, mini golf, croquet, polo and more. Tickets cost $18.95 and include your first mint julep. Get them fast because tickets sold out early last year.
See the excitement of race day on more than 20 screens on the two levels of Union Rooftop and Union Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis. Their Kentucky Derby viewing party goes from noon to 6 p.m. and features carnival games, giant Jenga, live music by Jack Brass Band and DJ Strangelove, specialty cocktails and cigar rolling station. Wear your finest Derby attire and win prizes for best-dressed and best hat. General Admission tickets cost $25 and include a complimentary beer or cocktail. VIP tickets are $45 and include a complimentary beer or cocktail, lunch buffet from noon to 3 p.m. and access to the “turf club” VIP lounge. A portion of ticket proceeds will go to The Pinky Swear Foundation, an organization that helps children with cancer and their families with financial and emotional support.
Warehouse Winery in Minneapolis will host the fourth annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser with Connections to Independence (C2i), a local organization that provides services to foster children. The celebration begins at 3 p.m. with wine tasting, poker tables, cigar bar, food and cocktails, silent auction, best dressed contest and “betting” on your horse of choice for the Derby race. All proceeds will benefit youth in and aging out of the foster care system and the services they receive from C2i.
Celebrate the Running of the Rose at Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Live music from Bluegrass Fiasco, photo wall, multiple screens showing the race including on the outdoor Veranda Bar, five bar stations, cigar rolling, and mint julep and salmon creek brut specials make this an event you don’t want to miss. The party goes from 1 to 6 p.m., and the best part, there’s no cover charge.
The award-winning seafood-house near Loring Park in Minneapolis, 4 Bells, kicks off the summer with their Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby fusion party. The Cinco de Derby patio party takes place Friday and Saturday starting at 4 p.m., and will include drink specials all day and night. Chef Tom will also be serving up a taco trio food special. No tickets necessary to join in the festivities.
Nicollet Island Pavilion
For a more upper brass Derby experience, don’t miss the third annual Kentucky Derby Affair, hosted by Polo for Philanthropy. You can expect fantastic food from CRAVE at a lavish luncheon. Other spectacles include a Derby Through the Ages fashion show, live horses, music performances, Jaguar Invitational car show, cocktails, best dressed contests, silent and live auctions, and much more. The celebration is located on the banks of the Mississippi at Nicollet Island Pavilion and runs from 1 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $100 per person and sales benefit This Old Horse and the Minneapolis Mounted Police Foundation.
Keep the party going all night long at the After Party at MUSE Event Center with great music and dancing from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. General admission tickets cost $25, while VIP tickets are $50 and include a dinner buffet.
Flat Earth Brewing
Join the Minnesota Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (SCAAEP) and Flat Earth Brewing in St. Paul at their Kentucky Derby party with food, beer, cornhole and other yard games from 2 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door and include a craft beer, burger or hot dog, and a side.
University Club of St. Paul
Southern-inspired food and drinks are the highlight of the party at this historic St. Paul location. It costs $45 to get in the door at this 21+ event, but your ticket includes everything at the party from 3 to 7 p.m. The festivities include a Southern-style appetizer buffet, interactive photo booth, best dressed contests, prize drawings, live video stream of the race, poolside cigar lounge and signature cocktails.
508 Bar & Restaurant
Root for your favorite horses while raising money for a great cause at the sixth annual Derby for a Cure hosted by 508 Bar & Restaurant and JDRF. Tickets cost $65 to get in the door. Once inside, visitors will enjoy the open bar, games and prizes from 2 to 6 p.m. Pay extra money for Derby Dollars to participate in the games and give money to support type 1 diabetes research.
The Herkimer Pub & Brewery
For another charity Derby party, visit Herkimer Pub & Brewery in Uptown starting at 2 p.m. Place your “bets” on horses and donate to Sundown Horse Shelter. Visitors can also enjoy drink specials on mint juleps and Grey Goose oaks lily, while watching the most exciting two minutes in sports.
Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery
Head to Waconia for Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery’s Kentucky Derby party from 2 to 7 p.m. Live music by the Gentleman’s Anti-Temperance League will get the celebrations going. Other festivities include cigar rolling, watching the race on the big screens, clothing contests, special wine and beer releases, bocce ball and lawn games. Admission is $8 at the door, club members are free, and guests of members are $5.