This weekend, thousands of people from around the world will visit Louisville to enjoy the most exhilarating two minutes in sports — the Kentucky Derby and of course this town will be a buzz of excitement over which horse will take home the roses. It’s this spirit of winning that creates some of the best parties in the South as the buzz of stardom takes over the Bluegrass. The elite party, and the center crown jewel of events is the Barnstable Brown Party Derby Eve Gala.
The star-studded crown of a party will attract such celebs as Nick and Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, who are sure to be crowd pleasers. “Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit’s” Christopher Meloni will take the red carpet, as will Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn. Academy of Country Music Awards’ queen Miranda Lambert, who is expected to attend the gala as the perfect bachelorette party to celebrate her upcoming “I do’s” to country star Blake Shelton. This year, Kate Gosselin, one of the most well-known TV reality moms will also check out the scene.
Don’t forget the Barnstable Brown regulars who often grace this well-to-do party of the South; Vanessa Mainline and fiance Nick Lachey are expected, as are Wynonna Judd, Travis Tritt, Lee Ann Womack, Montgomery Gentry and Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn.
With such a line-up, do expect the unexpected, as the big names often bring in big talent to share with each other. Four years ago, it was reported that Jimmy Fallon took the stage and sang “Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors, but he was surprised when Kid Rock joined him on stage. Of course, the crowd went wild over the impromptu performance. Another year, Slash, Kid Rock and Meatloaf sang along with Travis Tritt.
Indeed, the former Doublemint Twins, Patricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable have been hosting a grand and successful Derby Eve gala for two decades. However, it’s much more than a fun, hip East Coast meets West Coast party, the gala reaches out to the community. Last year, the gala raised more than $1 million for the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Kentucky, and it will continue to raise funds this year.
What else makes the Barnstable-Brown Party stand out from the other Derby parties? Instead of being held at a ritzy nightclub or decked out convention center, this party, which the twins begin planning in January, is held at their beloved Highlands home located on Spring Drive. The planning begins so early because of the intense transformation from a terraced, hillside yard into an exquisite event complete with temporary flooring, fabulous decorating and delicious food.
The 23rd Annual Barnstable-Brown Party is truly an original of Kentucky and the Louisville’s eclectic Highland neighborhood, and not an event to miss. If you do miss it, just check Louisville.com for live updates, photos, a full-re-cap of the festivities and more.
YOUR COMPLETE LIST OF EXPECTED BARNSTABLE-BROWN PARTY CELEBS
The Jonas Brothers
Lee Ann Womack
Boyz II Men
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels