Being born and raised in Miami, the Kentucky Derby was not exactly an annual event that was on my radar. But as I got older, I realized that the Derby was a hugely celebrated American tradition and it was full of amazing things like pastel color-coordinated outfits, massive hats, and mint juleps. (Oh yeah, and there is a horse race, too.) Another huge element of the annual Kentucky Derby is the social aspect of it all. People flock to Louisville for Derby weekend to shmooze and be seen, and these 2017 celebrity Kentucky Derby parties are just the spots to check out if you're wanting to see what stars and socialites are up to.
Since I am not exactly a racing fan, I am in the group of people that would be in Louisville to do some serious party hopping and celebrity spotting. Clearly, though, the Derby parties are a very big deal and they span throughout most of Derby week.
If you happen to be at the Derby this year (or next year, or whenever — the parties stay pretty consistent) or just following along with the fun online, here are some of the Kentucky Derby parties that host a hefty amount of celebs.
Unbridled Eve Gala
The 7th annual Unbridled Eve Gala will be held on May 5 at the grand ballroom at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. A majority of the proceeds from the gala go to Blessings In A Backpack, an organization which provides needy elementary school students with food, and another 16 nonprofits will also benefit. According to Louisville Business First, some of the celebrities in the 2017 lineup will reportedly include Sharon Stone, Selma Blair, Mira Sorvino, and Beau Bridges.
Barnstable Brown Gala
The Barnstable Brown Gala is thrown at the home of Patricia Barnstable Brown on the night of May 5. For the 2017 gala, WDRB lists the celebrity list of attendees, including Tom Brady, Tracy Morgan, Justin Hartley, Aaron Rodgers, and music by Harry Connick, Jr., Kacey Musgraves, Boyz II Men, and many more. According to the Courier-Journal, over the past decade the gala has donated $13 million for diabetes research to the University of Kentucky's Barnstable Brown Kentucky Diabetes and Obesity Center.
Esquire Derby Gala
Esquire is hosting a gala at the 21c Museum Hotel on May 5. Food will be provided by chef Mike Wajda, and according to WDRB, the celebrity lineup reportedly includes Adrian Grenier, Bobby Flay, Kimbra, Ray J, and more. I have to say, that is one motley crew of attendees. While most of these parties are already sold out, VIP tickets for this gala still seem to be available for $650. If your wallet isn't ready for that commitment, you can always check out the photos online over the weekend.
Fillies & Stallions
The Fillies & Stallions party is so exclusive, they don't even sell tickets. According to WDRB, to attend the party you need to be invited. Essentially, you need to be somebody to attend. According to the official site, the party is very secretive about its celebrity guest list, but past attendees have included Ashton Kutcher, Nick Lachey, Vanessa Manillo, and Joey Fatone.
Former NBA basketball player and Louisville businessman Junior Bridgeman is getting in on the Derby party action with his inaugural party called The Trifecta. The gala will be hosted by Sinbad at the Louisville Marriott East on May 5, and according to Louisville Business First, the invitation-only event will also include performances by Miguel and Jill Scott to benefit the West End School, a private school for at-risk young men.
If you didn't get an exclusive invitation (you didn't, did you?), you can always rock your big hat, check out pictures from the festivities online, and have your own Derby party, right?