I never fully understood the magic of the Kentucky Derby until Iâ€™d experienced it for myself and then had a chance to be around others on their inaugural foray.
Whether youâ€™re ready for the Run for the Roses or not, I wish you a dose of that first-timer awe and an enjoyable next week.
Churchill Downs rolls out the red carpet on Saturday to celebrate the kickoff of the Spring Meet.
Opening Night will feature an Old Hollywood theme and entertainment including the famed Ken Arlen Orchestra starting at 4 p.m. and world-renowned DJ Clinton Sparks at 9 p.m.
Admission is $10. Last post is at 11:10 p.m.
Stand Up â€“ And Out â€“ ON Oaks
Churchill Downs will once again host a pink out at the track on Derby Eve, but this year thereâ€™s a new twist. Yes, the day is still dedicated to the ladies but this yearâ€™s event will honor and commemorate the lives of women affected by breast and all other cancers through a new partnership with Stand Up To Cancer, which raises funds to accelerate ground-breaking cancer research.
Churchill Downs will donate $1 to the organization for every person who attends Kentucky Oaks 138.
The day will also feature the Survivors Parade presented by Kroger. Be sure to bring your hankies. Among the 138 female cancer survivors who will walk in the procession around the track are two little girls.
A colorful full-page placard will be printed inside each Kentucky Oaks Day racing program and fans can write in the name of a loved one affected by cancer. Then, hold it up during the parade to show your support.
Seriously, donâ€™t forget your hanky.
For those who love philanthropy and fashion, enter the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest. Just wear your best pink, meet in the Aristides Garden at 2 p.m. and prepare to walk the pink-hued carpet and talk to me. Emceeing this event is always special, particularly when participants share their sassy style and how cancer has touched their lives.
Participants will be judged by celebrities, including former World No. 1 tennis star Stefanie Graf, by how well they incorporate pink into their ensemble. Coverage of the contest is scheduled to be broadcast on NBC.
The winner receives a VIP invitation to New York City for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week along with a Longines timepiece.
Hanging With Mr. Harralson
The Voice staff never fails to recognize how lucky we are to work with veteran photographer John Harralson, a man who attends more events a week than most people I know.
If you see the legendary cameraman out and about during Derby, take a photo of him (or with him) and send it to me. Weâ€™ll publish the best ones in an upcoming issue.
A Real Gem
Thereâ€™s never a shortage of roses at Derby time â€“ and the ones available at Clater Jewelers will last far beyond the annual festivities.
The broach pictured here is actually a fresh red rose shellacked in its beautiful state and preserved for years to come. Claterâ€™s carries the flowers in a variety of colors â€“ including pink â€“ and they have an assortment of other real-rose jewelry, including gorgeous rosebud earrings.
Clater Jewelers is located in Westport Village. You can call them at 502.426.0077.