Enjoy the Kentucky Derby During Your Stay

| May 4, 2023

May is known for a lot of things. One of the most interesting and uniquely American things is the Kentucky Derby. Not only is it a race, but an event filled with traditions and fun. This year, Derby Day is on Saturday, May 6, 2023. Let’s take a look at the Derby and how you can enjoy it during your stay.

What is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May. It is the capstone for the 2-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds and covers a distance of 1.25 miles. Even if you’re not a horse racing fan, there’s a good chance you’ve heard names like Secretariat or Seattle Slew. The race, which dates back to 1875, has been called the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. It’s part of the American Triple Crown series.

Mint Julep

In an event filled with traditions, the Mint Julep is one of the most well-known. The mint julep began being promoted by the Derby in 1938. There are more than a few variations of it, but the official recipe is:

  • 2 oz of Old Forester 86 Proof
  • 0.75 oz Simple Syrup
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
  • 3 Mint sprigs


1. Fill the julep cup with crushed ice.

1. Use a mixing glass to combine the bourbon, syrup and mint leaves. Muddle them well to release the mint aroma and oil (not tearing up the leaves).

3. Strain the contents into the Julep cup. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Watching the Race

The race coverage starts at 12:00 pm. This year, it is being broadcast on NBC & Peacock. The NBC channel on Anna Maria Island is channel 8. You can download the Derby Bingo Card and play along while you watch the coverage.

Kentucky Derby Party & Bluegrass Music Fest

If you want to celebrate on a bigger scale, the Kentucky Derby Party & Bluegrass Music Fest in nearby Bradenton may be the choice for you. The event starts at 1:00 pm at the 3 Keys Brewing & Gastrobrew. The organizers will be giving awards for the best Derby Attire. Some fashion suggestions can be found here. 3 Keys is located at 2505 Manatee Ave. E, Bradenton, FL 34208.

Crawfish Boil

This is a fun, unique way to cap off the day and help a good cause. The Center of Anna Maria Island is holding its annual Crawfish Boil from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Food and drinks include crawfish, chicken and sausage gumbo, red beans and rice, bourbon bread pudding, a cash bar, and free soft drinks. To keep with the Kentucky Derby theme, there will be a derby hat contest and you’ll be able to bet on crawfish races! For more information, visit their website. You can also purchase tickets in advance. The Center is located at 407 Magnolia Avenue, Anna Maria, FL 34216.

These are just a few ways to enjoy the Kentucky Derby during your stay. Or you can take your phone out, lie on our beautiful beach, and enjoy it that way. It’s your vacation, you decide. If you need other information on events in the area, just contact us. Our local experts are here to help you make your trip memorable.

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