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    If gloomy winter made you forget how awesome Louisville is, springtime Derby season is sure to jog your memory. Not only does the Kentucky Derby shine a national spotlight on Louisville, it also brings thousands of guests to our city, including celebrities. And with so many famous names visiting Louisville, it only makes sense to celebrate the occasion like a celebrity yourself.

    So whether you’re planning to celebrate the Kentucky Derby with the stars this year, or just treat yourself like a celebrity with tickets to one of the city's best Derby parties, look no further. We’ve made a list of the most popular and star-studded Kentucky Derby parties of 2016 to make planning your Derby week a little easier. 


    Fillies & Stallions
    Friday, May 6; 10pm – 3am
    Mellwood Arts Center
    1860 Mellwood Avenue

    Image: Fillies & Stallions

    This exclusive party is one of Louisville’s most anticipated Derby celebrations. Taking place on the eve of Derby, this dance party will feature popular Louisville-based deejays, Ryan Coxx and Benny along with what is sure to be an impressively famous guest list. Though the creators of this party are known to keep their celebrity guests a secret, Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O’Neal, Kendra Wilkinson and Guy Fieri have been on the list for this event in previous years. Earlybird general admission tickets are $650 each and include an open bar. You must be at least 21 years old to attend. For more information, visit the Fillies & Stallions website.


    Unbridled Eve Gala 
    Friday, May 6; 7pm -1:30am
    Galt House Hotel
    140 N. 4th Street


    This pre-Derby celebration is in its fifth year of proudly representing Louisville to many celebrity guests. With a variety of delicious cocktails, a delicious signature meal, a silent auction to raise money for local nonprofit organizations and musical entertainment provided by some of the country’s most popular musicians, it’s no wonder this party has been a hit since it started. This year guests will enjoy a performance by Robin Thicke and mingle with this year's celebrity guests, including actress Ashley Greene and rapper 50 Cent. VIP tickets are still available this event for $1,500 each, as well as individual “dance only” tickets, which allow guests admission from 10 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. only and are $300 each. For more information, visit Unbridled Eve Gala’s website. 


    Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala
    Friday, May 6; 8pm
    1700 Spring Drive

    Image: InStyle

    As one of the most popular and longest-running Derby celebrations in Louisville, this gala is expected to be one of the biggest celebrity destinations the night before Derby. The Alabama Shakes are listed as the first to perform at the Barnstable Brown home, leading into an expected variety of surprise musical performances by celebrity guests. Other celebrities on this year's guest list include model and actress Kate Upton, country musician Tanya Tucker, R&B group Boyz II Men and actor Taylor Kinney, who just might be bringing his fiance, Lady Gaga as his date. Tickets to this event are currently unavailable. 


    The Darrell Griffith Foundation Experience
    Saturday, May 7; 11:30pm - 4:30am
    Cascade Ballroom
    221 S. 4th Street


    Louisville's own NBA star athlete, Darrell Griffith, supports his hometown's nonprofits with this event as one of his biggest fundraisers. As hinted in the event's title, guests of this celebration will receive the full Derby experience with flowing signature beverages, live music and a list of celebrity guests. This party is scheduled to begin hours after Derby, allowing guests plenty of time to make it through the thickest traffic of the year without missing the evening's first performance by R&B musician Jeremih. General admission tickets are still available for $90 each and include complimentary beverages and an elaborate buffet. For more information about the Darrell Griffith Foundation and to purchase tickets, visit the event's website


    Hermitage Grand Gala
    Friday, May 6; 8pm
    21C Hotel
    700 W. Main Street

    Image: People's Choice 

    Vanity Fair's invitation-only celebration will take place on the eve of Derby at Louisville's intriguing 21C Hotel. As celebrities and the the city's most well-known community figures enter the party through the 21C's beautifully decorated art gallery, they will be greeted with an array of delicious hors d'oeuvres and cocktails before DJ Cassidy kicks off his live performance. Among the celebrities expected to attend is the dreamy star of Entourage, Adrien Grenier. Those who did not receive an invitation to this event can still head to the 21C that night to see the celebrities as they arrive. Can't make it out to see the celebrity arrivals? Don't worry, you can see photos of this event printed in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. 


    100 Black Men Derby Scholarship Gala
    Thursday, May 5; 7pm
    Galt House Hotel
    140 N. 4th Street

    Image: BET 

    Celebrate Derby by giving back to the community at this nonprofit gala. The 100 Black Men of Louisville organization raises money to provide financial assistance for its high school mentoring program, which encourages students to seek higher education after high school. Along with helping the community, guests will also enjoy a live performance by R&B artist Babyface. Tickets are currently on sale for $250 each. 


    50 Cent Derby Takeover
    Friday, May 6; 11:30pm
    Club Liv
    133 W. Liberty Street

    Image: Billboard

    After he makes his appearance at the Unbridled Eve Gala, rapper 50 Cent will make his way to Club Liv where he will host his own Derby party well into the night. Several hip hop artists are set to perform along with the event's host. And considering its main sponsor, Effen Vodka, we can only assume it will be a party this city will never forget. Tickets are currently still on sale and prices start at $22. 


    Derby Eve Gala
    Friday, May 6; 8pm
    Seelbach Hotel
    500 S. 4th Street

    Image: Derby Eve Gala

    Okay, so this party hasn't released a celebrity guest list yet. But why spend your evening chasing after celebrities when you can treat yourself like one while raising money for the American Lung Association? And either way, as one of the most popular Derby celebrations in the city, the Derby Eve Gala is sure to attract some major Hollywood names. Each $300 ticket includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live musical entertainment yb Nashville band, Burning Las Vegas. This year's theme is The Great Gatsby, so make sure you dress the part. For more information, visit this event's website


    If you don’t get the chance to snag tickets to any of the parties listed above, check out some of these other local spots that are sure to be hot with celebrities around Derby time. 


    Butchertown Grocery - Named one of Louisville's most popular bourbon and dinner establishments, this new restaurant and bar is sure to be packed with Derby fans visiting from all over the country, including the occasional celebrity. Jennifer Lawrence was spotted dining here while she was visiting relatives at Christmastime. We hope she enjoyed her meal enough to come back again!

    Fourth Street Live! - As Louisville's biggest nightlife destination for visiting tourists, this is one place you can't go wrong when it comes to celebrity-spotting. Located conveniently within walking distance of several of the city's best downtown hotels, it only makes sense for a Backstreet Boy or two to wander into one of this venue's bars for a late-night cocktail.

    The Connection - There's nothing quite like ending a busy weekend with a bright and dazzling drag show at this local hot spot. And no one knows this better than Lady Gaga, as she visited the club after her performance at the Yum! Center in 2011. If she joins her celebrity fiance, Taylor Kinney at the Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala, perhaps she'll end her night with another show at this local club. 

    Down One Bourbon Bar - named this downtown bar as one of the top 50 bourbon bars in America. And because of its downtown location, it would be the perfect place for a celebrity to order their final drink of the night. 

    If you have any celebrity sightings of your own this weekend, please share them with us in the comments below! And please tweet us your celebrity selfies @Louisvillecom! 

    Image: Zimbio/EddieMontgomery

    Carly Garcia's picture

    About Carly Garcia

    Lover of vegetarian cuisine, Stephen King, puppies, camping and wine...lots of wine.

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