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Three Kentucky Derby parties to put on your calendar, from posh to down-home

Randall Cobb returns to Kentucky for Derby festivities

Former Kentucky football player, current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb brought his teammates to the Barnstable Brown gala.
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Former Kentucky football player, current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb brought his teammates to the Barnstable Brown gala.

Every year, there are Kentucky Derby parties that we all wish we could attend. But unless you’re a real insider, it’s hard to get a ticket to the Barnstable-Brown gala in Louisville. Well, here are some Derby parties you can still get into.

High roller: Rabbit Hole Distillery, 711 East Jefferson Street in Louisville, is partnering with Esquire to host a three-day Derby party that begins on Thursday, May 2 with event-exclusive cocktails, live entertainment, and art installations and wrapping up with a post-Derby party on Saturday, May 4. Tickets start at $149 per person for just the party, or choose $199 for dinner and post-Derby party. Or go for the Esquire VIP lounge, which includes Thursday, Friday AND Saturday for $499 per person. There’s also a $999 version with a very special extra. Tickets are available online at rabbitholedistillery.com.

Swanky: A Celebration of Second Chances at The Kentucky Castle, 230 Pisgah Pike outside Lexington is a pre-Derby party on Friday, May 3, that is a fund-raiser for the Coalition for Public Safety, which lobbies for criminal justice reform. The event features live music by Sara Evans, Pat Green, John Carter Cash and Ana Cristina Cash, plus Kentucky favorites MISC Jones and The Local Honeys. There’s also fabulous food and drinks. Tickets start at $100 per person for lawn and rooftop access; food and cash bars available. For $250 per person, you get an all-access pass to the awards reception, locally soured food plus four drinks tickets.

Relaxed: If getting dressed up isn’t your thing, check out the Poor Man’s Harlan County Derby Eve Party, a tradition in Lexington. The event at B&B Morgan Tire at 851 North Broadway, costs just $20 per person at the door. The proceeds benefit the Cawood Ledford Harlan County Boys and Girls Club and there is a silent auction for Christ the King Cathedral’s Giving Tree Campaign to repair the cathedral and school. The party features live music, a barbecue hog roast and Mexican food from Maria’s Kitchen. The party also features special guests of honor including UK coaches and many former athletes, plus Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. You can also order tickets online at bidpal.net/derbyeve. Party starts at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3.

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