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Tips for going to the Kentucky Derby

This is what I've learned from going to many Kentucky Derbys. If you are making plans to attend next year's Derby, here are my tips

  • Ladies, buy your hat first. Then pick out a dress that matches the hat, then the shoes that match the hat and dress. Then the bag. It's easier to find the right dress than the right hat. 
  • Buy your hat in Louisville at Dees Crafts, or in a Facebook Group for Derby hats. There's no such thing as too big or too fancy. There are a few local stores that sell them too. Do not order a Derby hat from Amazon - everyone will know it's not authentic.
  • The weather forecast can be wrong. Dress for anything. Bring sunscreen and a clear rain poncho. You may need both in the same day. It might be 40 degrees and raining or 72 degrees and sunny.
  • Buy your Derby shoes at least a week before Derby and wear them everyday to break them in. If you skip this step there's a 100% chance of blisters on Derby Day. Don't spend too much on shoes. They'll look like trash by the end of the day after walking so much.
  • Get reservations for hotels and restaurants as soon as you know you are going to the Derby.
  • Figure out where you want to sit by doing this virtual tour -
  • Get tickets on 
  • It's normal to pay to park in people's yards or driveways near the track for $20-50 per car. There is not enough parking at the track for everyone, so you'll most likely park 1/2 mile away.
  • Manage your expectations to avoid frustration. There will be long lines for restrooms and food and drinks. Expect it and roll with it. If you don't drive a car,...

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