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Frankfort’s Downtown Derby Day Celebration Written by Patti Nickell

It’s that time of year again. The Run for the Roses. The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. However you want to refer to it, the first Saturday in May has only one meaning for citizens of the commonwealth – the Kentucky Derby.

This year marks a special milestone – the 150th anniversary of the Derby and Kentuckians will once again revel in style.

National attention will be focused on Louisville, but Frankfort is scheduled to kick off its own party on St. Clair Street where the appropriately named Kentucky Wild Horses Trio will hold sway from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

The band’s roots music – bluegrass, fiddle tunes and hillbilly swing – will pump up the crowd and get them in the mood to party Derby-style.

To fuel the revelers for their full day of activities, downtown restaurants will be offering Derby breakfast specials.

B’s Bakery

Derby Day Breakfast Stops:

Andy’s Artisan Bread – 8am

B’s Bakery – 8am

Bourbon on Main – 10am

Brown Barrel – 10am

Cliffside Diner – 8:30am

Community Que Food Truck – 9am

Engine House – 7am

Goodwood Brewing -10am

Hiriam Lodge – 8am

Howser Tavern – 9am

Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe – 7am

Main Street Diner – 8am

Mi Fiesta – 9am

Mortimer Bibb’s – 9am

Serafini – 10am

Goodwood Brewing

Throughout the morning, an array of activities will keep attendees happy – whether they be shoppers (many of the downtown shops will be open for last minute Derby essentials – from a statement hat for the ladies to a julep cup for the gents.

Derby Day Shopping Spots:

Broadway Clay – 9am

Capital City Museum Gift Shop – 10am

Completely Kentucky – 9am

EM+ME Boutique – 9am

Family Tree Consignment – 10am

Franklin Co. Farmers Market – 8am

Glitterati Treasures – 9am

JPW Creative Home Boutique – 10am

Kentucky History Center Gift Shop – 10am

Miss B’s Antiques & Such – 9am

Muskets Music Station – 9am

New Leash on Life – 9am

Poor Richard’s Books – 9am

Rebecca Ruth Candy – 10:30am

The Broken Barrel – 9am

The Drip Drop Shop – N/A

The Kentucky Flower Market – 10am

The Linen Closet & RiverCity Provisions -10am

Why Not Gifts & Bargains – 9am

The kids won’t be forgotten either.  The Kentucky History Museum and the Paul Sawyier Library will take over the Old Capitol lawn for Derby-themed activities, while a petting zoo and bounce houses will be set up in the parking lot of First Christian Church.

What’s a sporting event worth its salt without athletes and majorettes?  The Frankfort Derby Fest will have both.  The Franklin County High School majorettes will high step it during a performance that begins at 9:40 a.m. on Broadway, while the Kentucky State University Thorobred football team will meet and greet fans and pose for photos throughout the morning.

Broadway will be bursting with activity when the Triple Crown Races begin at 10:00 a.m.  First up will be Pedal for the Posies Bike Race kicked off by professional jockey Ferrin Peterson.

Following the bike race will be the Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Ball Challenge, and to work off calories from the bourbon balls, Bounce for the Roses (featuring bouncy balls with horse features).  Both events will take place on the Old Capitol Lawn.

Even if you’ll never experience what it feels like to burst from the starting gate at Churchill Downs, you can feel the thrill of the Derby with these community races.

If you’re not into bourbon ball eating or bouncing, you’ll have other options.  Take home a Derby souvenir from the photo booth on St. Clair Street or the Kentucky Derby live painting and caricature drawings on Broadway.

You’ll also have a chance to bid for a Derby-themed painting by artist Shannon Neal, especially created to commemorate the Derby’s 150th anniversary.

Stop by the food and drink vendors along Broadway and enjoy a Castle & Key cocktail or follow the Bloody Mary Trail.

Howser Tavern

Derby Day Bloody Mary Stops:

Bourbon on Main – 10am

Brown Barrel – 10am

Capital Cellars – 10am

Castle & Key Trailer – 9am

Dicey Riley’s Irish Pub – 8:30am

Goodwood Brewing – 10am

House of Commons – 9am

Howser Tavern – 9am

Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe – 7am

Mortimer Bibb’s – 9am

POURter’s Booth – 9am

Serafini – 10am

Sig Luscher – 11am

Stainless Brewing – 9am

The Brick Alley – 9am

The Cooperage – 9am

Sig Luscher Brewery

It may be hard to decide which will draw the most participants – the Run for the Roses Split the Pot drawing or the Hat Walk Contest.

The drawing will take place at the Downtown Frankfort Inc. table on Broadway at 11:30 a.m. (tickets will be sold for $10 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.)

At the same location, the Hat Walk contest will start immediately following the raffle.  So, ladies (and gentlemen if they want) get ready to strut your stuff.

Even if you don’t have a hat, you can hop aboard the Bourbon Blazer pub bike leaving from Blanton’s Landing to enjoy a special Derby ride.  The first 25 people in line ride for free; the rest need to “pony up” $5.

The excitement the day promises is summed up by Suzy Hosley, executive director of Downtown Frankfort Inc., whose organization has put together the day’s festivities.

“This event is not only a time-honored tradition, but also a vital opportunity to kick off our state’s renowned Kentucky Derby festivities,” says Hosley.

“Frankfort, with its charm and rich history, truly embodies the spirit of our great state, and this celebration perfectly captures that essence.”