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    MAY 1-2

    • WineFest

    WHERE: East Belvedere at Waterfront Park

    WHEN: open tasting sessions 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $35 (includes wine glass and event pin)

    The winemaking business has exploded in recent years in Kentucky and southern Indiana, and this is your chance to sample dozens of products from these burgeoning local vineyards all in one place.

    MAY 2

    • Battle of the Bounce

    WHERE: Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront

    WHEN: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $75 per person on four-person teams; free for spectators with a Pegasus Pin

    Like something out of Wipeout, four-member themed teams will roll, bounce, climb, and slide their way through an inflatable obstacle course to win the coveted “Inflatable Ego” award and a spot in the Pegasus Parade.

    • Great Steamboat Race

    WHERE: Waterfront Park and Ohio River

    WHEN: boarding at 4:30 p.m.; departure at 5:30 p.m.; race at 6 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $130 to board the Belle of Louisville (includes food, drinks, and entertainment); $55 to board the Belle of Cincinnati (tour only); $75 for special Four Roses bourbon tasting on the Belle of Cincinnati (includes food and drinks)

    This is one of the oldest Derby traditions – the first Great Steamboat Race was held back in 1963 – and several different steamboats have competed against hometown favorite the Belle of Louisville since its inception. This year promises even more change: the American Queen, whose home port is the Beale Street Landing in Memphis, will enter the competition alongside the Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati to vie for the silver antlers.

    • Walk the Moon with Ha Ha Tonka

    WHERE: Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront

    WHEN: Ha Ha Tonka at 7 p.m.; Walk the Moon at 8 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: Free with a Pegasus Pin

    Wednesday concerts on the Waterfront are back with a vengeance, and on May 2, rising four-man band Walk the Moon will take the stage at Fest-a-Ville.

    • Social at the Silks

    WHERE: Galt House (Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar)

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: Free

    Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge will be at Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar to sign bottles of a rare product, which was poured from a barrel chosen by a special Derby Festival panel and served on the Belle of Cincinnati during the Great Steamboat Race.

    MAY 3

    • Speed Museum Derby Brunch

    WHERE: Speed Museum

    WHEN: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $85 per person

    Brunch will be served at Café Fraiche and musical entertainment will be provided by Louisville-based folk trio the River Sirens. Guests will also enjoy shuttle service to Churchill Downs every half hour from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and entry to Renoir to Chagall: Paris and the Allure of Color.

    • Celebrity Day at the Downs

    WHERE: Churchill Downs (6th Floor)

    WHEN: 11:30 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $99 per person; $792 for tables of 8; $892 for preferred tables of 8

    This perennially sold-out event was conceived as a gesture of thanks to Pegasus Parade workers but was gradually opened to the public as its popularity grew. The parade’s Grand Marshal and a slew of other Hollywood stars will be on site at the Downs before the parade itself commences.

    • Pegasus Parade

    WHERE: West on Broadway from Campbell Street to 9th Street

    WHEN: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: free public viewing in most areas; $9 for bleacher tickets; $11 for chair seating; $26 for review stand seating

    The Derby Festival’s founding event, at more than 50 years old, now generates more than $22 million in revenue for our hometown. The legendary pop superstar Cyndi Lauper will serve as Grand Marshal for this year’s parade, themed “Family, Fun, and Games.”

    Pegasus Parage

    • Easter Seals Taste of the Oaks

    WHERE: Galt House (Grand Ballroom)

    WHEN: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $65 per person and $750 for reserved tables of 10

    The Easter Seals of Louisville is a non-profit outpatient rehab center benefiting children with special needs, and they're holding their 9th Annual Taste of the Oaks at the Galt House to raise money for their excellent cause. Guests will enjoy live music and a silent auction in "smart casual" attire.

    • Battle of the Bluegrass Celebrity Derby Pool Tournament

    WHERE: Ice House

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $60 per person

    Players pair up with a celebrity at this star-studded pool tournament to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentucky. This year, the match will be headed by “Black Widow” Jeanette Lee, Chicago Bears football star (and former UofL player) Michael Bush, 2012 National Champion and basketball star Darius Miller, and UofL graduate Amobi Okoye, who currently plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    • Taste of Derby

    WHERE: Bowman Field (Louisville Executive Aviation Hangar)

    WHEN: entry at 7 p.m.; food and wine tastings until 10 p.m.; open bar until 11 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $300 per person

    The Derby weekend kicks off with “Taste of Derby” at historic Bowman Field, where nationally renowned chefs will serve samples of signature dishes for you and a crowd of horseracing celebrities.

    • 100 Black Men of Louisville Gala

    WHERE: Kentucky International Convention Center

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $200 per person; $2,000 for tables of 10; $4,000 for corporate parties

    100 Black Men of Louisville is an organization that offers financial assistance and mentorship to high school students hoping to enroll in an in-state college or university. This year’s featured entertainment will be recording artist Frankie Beverly and Maze.

    • Ferdinand's Ball

    WHERE: Frazier Museum

    WHEN: doors open at 8:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 9 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $100 per cocktail ticket; $250 for VIP tickets; $500 for all-access tickets

    ​There will be a little less history and much more star power in the Frazier Museum on the evening of May 3. Ferdinand's Ball is hosted this year by Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Brandi Glanville, and for a limited time, tickets for a pre-event cocktail hour with celebrity attendees will be on sale. In a gesture to the heart and soul of the Derby race itself, donations will benefit retired thoroughbred horses.

    • ​"Young and Reckless" Does the Derby

    WHERE: Prime Lounge

    ​WHEN: 10 p.m. – 3 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $20 per ticket

    ​MTV reality star Christopher Pfaff, better known as "Drama" from Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, will be promoting his clothing line "Young and Restless" at Prime Lounge. Celebrity DJ Mick Boogie, who has spun at events for the likes of Will Smith, Jay-Z, and the Grammy Foundation, will also be in the house.

    MAY 4

    • Oaks Brunch

    WHERE: Brown Hotel

    WHEN: 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $150 per person

    The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft will host this year’s Oaks Brunch at the Brown Hotel. Look for handcrafted items from the museum on display and bid in the silent auction as you enjoy hors d’ouevre and cocktails; stay for the exceptional brunch menu created by the Brown Hotel’s own Chef Laurent Géroli.

    • Oaks Daytime Festival with the Louisville Crashers

    WHERE: Fourth Street Live!

    WHEN: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: Free

    The Oaks Festival at Fourth Street Live! is free to the public, unlike many other Oaks and Derby parties around town, and welcomes local rockers the Louisville Crashers to its stage.

    • Unbridled Eve Derby Gala

    WHERE: Galt House

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $500 per person

    An impressive $300,000 of in-kind donations for charities like Blessings in a Backpack and the American Cancer Society, 800 attendees, more than 40 celebrities, seven specialty bars, and hundreds of silent auction items join forces to make this one of the most anticipated Derby parties of the season.

    • Julep Ball

    WHERE: Galt House (Grand Ballroom)

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $500 per person ($400 is tax deductible) and $5,000 for tables of 10 ($4,000 is tax deductible)

    The James Graham Brown Cancer Center will be honored at this year’s Julep Ball, which will also feature a red-carpet entrance, cocktails, a gourmet dinner, and, of course, endless dancing in an extravagant setting.

    • Barnstable Brown Gala

    WHERE: Barnstable Brown Mansion

    WHEN: 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $1,250 per person

    The Barnstable Brown Gala is legendary for its celebrity attendance, and this year will not disappoint. Topping a list of stars making an appearance is Ashton Kutcher, who will rub elbows with the likes of Andre Agassi, Aaron Rodgers, Kate Upton, and Boyz II Men. This charity event is considered the premier Derby soiree, and raises money each year for the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Kentucky.

    • MAXIM Fillies and Stallions

    WHERE: Mellwood Arts Center

    ​WHEN: 10 p.m. – 4 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $600 per person and $8,000 for VIP tables of 8

    This party promises everything you would expect from MAXIM magazine: a celebrity DJ, Hollywood stars and starlets, go-go dancers, and a "high female-to-male ratio." $600 buys you general admission and access to a fantastic open bar, but you'll have to shell out a little more for an exclusive VIP table.

    • Grey Goose Cherry Noir Celebrity Lounge

    WHERE: Prime Lounge

    WHEN: 10 p.m. – 4 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $20 per ticket

    For the second night in a row, ​Prime Lounge is celebrating Derby into the wee hours of the morning. In past years, this annual party has attracted celebrities like Nick Lachey, Terrell Owens, and Maria Menounous, and with DJ Reach and Grey Goose's exclusive "Cherry Moon" cocktail calling, you can expect even more star-gazing this Derby season.

    MAY 5

    • 34th Annual Historic Homes Foundation Derby Breakfast

    WHERE: Farmington Historic Plantation

    WHEN: 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

    HOW MUCH: $125 per person

    The sumptuous breakfast at this event is not the only draw: bluegrass band the Porch Possums will be providing the soundtrack, a silent auction will benefit the Historic Homes Foundation, and an exclusive cabin by Longwood Antique Woods will be built on-site and available for purchase by attendees.

    • Silks in the Bluegrass Derby Party

    WHERE: Crown Plaza Hotel

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 1 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $250 per person and $2,500 for tables of 10

    Another fantastic Derby charity event is the Silks in the Bluegrass party, which benefits Operation Open Arms (a charity founded to help children who have mothers serving time in prison find foster families for the duration of the mother’s sentence). The honorary chair this year is Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler.

    • Issac Murphy Image Awards

    WHERE: Kentucky Center for African American Heritage

    WHEN: 7 p.m. – 1 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: Invitation only

    ​This highly respected gala is held every year at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage to honor a Lifetime Achievement Award winner. This year's recipient will be actor and African American leader Danny Glover, and the presentation of honors will be accompanied by food, drinks, and entertainment.

    • ​21c Derby Party

    ​WHERE: 21c Museum Hotel

    WHEN: dinner 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. and party 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $100 for party only and $175 for dinner and party

    The Original Makers Club and Esquire magazine will be hosting one of the more unique Derby parties at 21c downtown, complete with an open bar, dinner presented by Proof on Main and Robinson's Prime Reserve, and what they're calling a "vintage circus party of spectacular beauty and oddity." This extravaganza is clearly not to be missed.

    • Pendennis Club Derby After-Party

    WHERE: Pendennis Club

    WHEN: 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: Free for members and their spouses and $40 for guests

    The party continues after the most exciting three minutes in sports have expired. The Pendennis Club will host its after-party with the help of the Jimmy Church Band and a menu that needs to be tasted to be believed.

    • Night of… One Race. One Winner. One Party.

    WHERE: Galt House (Grand Ballroom and Exhibit Hall)

    WHEN: 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $425 per person and $375 per person for groups of 10 or more

    The Galt House, not to be outdone by the number of other post-Derby attractions, will offer passed hors d’ouevres, bottomless drinks, a gourmet meal, and entertainment from Party on the Moon, the band that played at the President’s Inauguration. Tickets will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund, Inc.

    • Derby Party with DJ Mikus

    WHERE: Fourth Street Live!

    WHEN: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: Free

    Long after many Derby party-goers have hit the hay, the celebration will roll on at Fourth Street Live!, where DJ Mikus will be spinning on the Live! stage for the benefit of all comers. Best of all, this party is free of charge.

    • ​Cinco de Derby Celebrity Event and Official Derby Jockey After-Party

    ​WHERE: Prime Lounge

    WHEN: 9 p.m. – 6 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $10 cover charge

    Prime Lounge is capping off a trifecta of Derby parties with the Cinco de Derby Celebrity Event, sponsored by Grey Goose and Red Bull. You'll have the chance to party with the jockey who either made your day or rained on your Derby parade.

    • T.I.'s Celebrity Kentucky Derby Gala

    ​WHERE: Kentucky Expo Center

    ​WHEN: 10 p.m. – 3 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $60 per person; $100 for a pair of GA tickets; $100 per person for VIP tickets

    Hip-hop artist T.I. will be teaming up with football star Michael Bush to deliver one of the hottest after-Derby parties in town. Everything one would expect from a rap mogul will be on tap, including fine dining, VIP lounges, and a red carpet entrance.

    • ​Darrell Griffith Foundation Experience

    ​WHERE: Kentucky International Convention Center (Cascade Ballroom)

    WHEN: 11:30 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.

    HOW MUCH: $75 per person; $135 for VIP tickets; $800 for VIP tables of 4; $1,000 for tables of 10; $1,200 for VIP couch sections

    ​Cocktails and a buffet at this very late-night star-studded "experience" will precede a live performance from R&B artist Miguel. The Darrell Griffith Foundation, named after the former UofL basketball star and Utah Jazz player, donates proceeds to different charitable organizations throughout the community, including UofL's Autism Treatment Center and New Beginnings for Women.


    Karen Ellestad's picture

    About Karen Ellestad

    When I was seven and my brother was eight, we both wrote to 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' for a free t-shirt. Two weeks later his arrived in the mail, signed by Carmen Sandiego herself, accompanied by an autographed picture of the cast, an official membership to the 'Gumshoe Club,' and a Rockapella casette tape. I got a postcard.

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