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Kentucky Derby Celebrations in Phoenix and Scottsdale - 2014

Don a Fancy Hat and Drink a Mint Julep

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Ladies at the Kentucky Derby Lawn Party, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Photo Courtesy Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Every year the population of Louisville, Kentucky swells when the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival takes place each spring, culminating in the "Run for the Roses" on the first Saturday in May.

If you can't get to Churchill Downs for the big event, you can watch it on television or download an app to watch it on your iPad or phone. Honestly, though, does that seem right? Not to me. Why not get dressed up, put on your fanciest hat (for women) and your seersucker suit (for men) and attend a Kentucky Derby event right here in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area?

The date for the Kentucky Derby is: May 3, 2014. The race itself is scheduled to take place at 3:24 p.m., Arizona time.

The Kentucky Derby, Arizona Style

On Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. “the most exciting two minutes in sports” will be celebrated in grand Southern style at Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with a Kentucky Derby Brunch and Lawn Party. Each guest will enjoy frosty mint juleps, live blues music, bourbon tastings and activities on the “Winner’s Circle” lawn. The brunch menu features Kentucky Derby hot browns, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, crab Louie, Carolina shrimp and grits and truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. Sweet sensations include lemon meringue tarts, red velvet cupcakes and chocolate bourbon pecan pies. The brunch includes a commemorative keepsake Kentucky Derby glass and a complimentary mint julep. Race-watchers can order a  “Seersucker” cocktail made with bourbon, peach and mint; “The Derby,” made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange curacao and lime, the “Kentucky Cousin,” made with Knob Creek bourbon Cherry Heering, lemon and black tea, or sip a sparkling Iron Horse Blanc de Blancs. The race will be shown on plasma screens indoors and out, with complete Derby coverage from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a sing-a-long of “My Old Kentucky Home” just before the post parade. Women of grace and taste are encouraged to complete their Derby look with their most stylish hats, while dapper gents might sport seersucker, both with a chance to win prizes. Bring your camera to take a photo posing with Saul, a 4-time U.S. National Champion racehorse, or play horseshoes and other lawn games. Bourbon Steak’s Kentucky Derby Brunch is $79 per person, plus tax and service charge. Reservations are suggested by calling 480.585.2694.  Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

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On Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Phoenician in Scottsdale will celebrate the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby with a special viewing party on the Orchid Lawn. Flat screen TVs will be located throughout the area to catch the pre-race festivities and the race itself. There will be a best hat contest for the ladies, a best Southern fashion contest for the men, a Winner's Circle raffle, and a special Southern menu created by The Phoenician's award-winning chefs. After the Homestretch-Arizona will be back as the charity of choice, bringing with them one of their four-legged members. Cost is $59 per person. Call for reservations 480-423-2530.

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At Turf Paradise in North Phoenix you can join the Kentucky Derby Party. Admission to the grandstand is $5 per person. Food and drink available all day in the Clubhouse ($40) or the Turf Club ($65) and includes buffet, seating, admission, tax, gratuity and a souvenir glass. Reservations recommendedEnter the annual Bonnet Contest. Live races start at 11:30 a.m. and they continue until about 5 p.m.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

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