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    Bit to Do

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    The biggest, baddest party of the year is approaching at warp speed. It's officially Derby week. If you're a recent Louisville transplant, welcome to the madness. Enjoy your first few years as a wide-eyed Derby Fest novice to the absolute fullest, because after just few years the mandatory party can become as tarnished by repetition; If you've lived in Louisville all your life, you already know these struggles well. 


    1. Don't even try to schedule a meeting during the next seven days.

    It's hopeless. Don't follow up with your job application. Don't try to do a business lunch. Don't take on an extra project at work. Everyone you want to interview or meet with or work with will inevitably say: "could we revisit this after Derby?!" 


    2. The metro area, and your favorite bar, is about to get really, really crowded. 

    You think traffic is bad now? You think street parking is hard to find? Wait until the tourists have to navigate the (newly MORE convoluted) spaghetti junction and all the other ostentatious road construction going on all around Louisville. Your favorite restaurants will be crammed, or be serving special (and specially expensive) Derby or Oaks dinners. Bars that don't normally have covers will have booked some wild-stylin' New York DJ and charge $15 to enter.


    3. Forget about your diet. Also, don't attempt to jumpstart your journey into sobriety during the next seven days. 

    Pimento cheese, Derby Pie from Kern's Kitchen, the Hot Brown, Benedictine...the traditional foods of Derby and Derby parties will at best impregnate you with an obtrusive food baby and at worst force you to wear Spanx in your Derby getup. If you're considering cutting the booze for awhile, this is the worst week of the year to embark on that quest. Also, the Chow Wagon is open through Oaks day on the Waterfront, and they have a birthday cake funnel cake.


    4. School's out for Oaks! 

    It's surprising how many people forget this every year. Yeah, you're going to need a babysitter. 

    5. Approximately ALL of your casual acquaintances will hit you up last minute for some kind of Derby hookup. 

    You haven't heard from your college roommate in five years, but suddenly she's squealing into your voicemail that she's in town and she'd love to catch up and like, how much are tickets to the Derby, and where should she eat dinner? Long-lost relatives will ask to crash on your couch. Friends of friends in town for the weekend will ask if you're willing to give them a "quick tour of Louisville." 


    6. Your FOMO (fear of missing out) is going to be out of control whatever you do. 

    It's impossible to attend every awesome Kentucky Derby Festival event, much less all the loosely Derby-themed parties, events and galas this week. No matter how hard you rage, you're going to miss THE bash of the season somehow. The burden of Derby is this: you can choose to wearily join the revelry whether you feel like it or not, and just commit yourself to having a good time can hide in your house the whole weekend watching Netflix and scrolling through the social media feeds of all your friends: primped to perfection, swilling pink drinks, misusing Hunter S. Thompson quotes. If you go out and hit the town you might end up nostalgic for your cat and quilt and laptop, but if you stay home you might end up wishing you'd joined in on the fun. 


    7. Juleps and Lillies can be drastically improved with a craft cocktail twist.

    As part of's ongoing Something to Swig video series, Bartender Eron Plevan shows how to make a brandy julep and a tiki-inspired lily. If you're throwing your own Derby party, add these to the bar. 

    Good luck surviving and thriving Derby week! 

    Image: Elizabeth Myers

    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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