I love a reliable party. And gambling. And white linen, mint juleps, ponies, big hats, the look of relaxation that floats in wealthy people's eyes, ironed tablecloths and spontaneous hugging. The Kentucky Derby has all of those things, and has consistently showed 'em off since 1875. Bless its heart.
Dallas has a natural proclivity for southern celebrations, so there are plenty of places to don a bonnet and set of antique pearls this Saturday. Here's twelve that currently lead the formation.
Lee Park Conservancy Party -- Now in its fifth year, the Lee Park Junior Conservancy presents A Day at the Races. It's a big to-do, filling the Arlington Hall at Lee park with the city's most polished young professionals.
It's a traditional celebration, so you'll dress the part in a Kentucky Derby chic ensemble, while chomping on Southern cuisine, gulping Mint Juleps, fixing the Best Hat and Best Dressed Contests, hijacking the cigar rolling table, becoming the live entertainment, dancing with someone's husband, foiling someone's political asperations, and avoiding the silent auction because you're poor. Also, they're showing the races. Ticket prices keep out the commoners, and range from $75 to $150. Odds of getting laid: 15:1
Think Ahead Group's Derby Party, featuring Petty Theft -- The Arboretum is the ideal backdrop for a Derby party, and on Saturday its DeGolyer Mansion houses a rager, organized by TAG (Think Ahead Group). The non-profit promotes brain health and research and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (Whoa, sorry. I fell asleep reading about them.)
TAG promises the classics: Mint juleps, raffle prizes, southern cooking and Tom Petty(ish) music. You've got to get your tickets by Friday if you want to cautiously shake it with this crowd. They cost individual non-TAG-members $80. Odds of getting laid: 19:1
Sissy's Fried Chicken, Jockeys and Juleps -- Upscale without being pretentious, Sissy's throws a great party. There's no cover, just wonderful atmosphere and $7 specials on Sissy's Mint Julep, Kentucky Punch, Presbyterian Bourbon Press and Alabama Sunsets.
They'll show all of the derby action -- from The Red Carpet Special to the run for the roses -- up on the big screen. And yes, there will be a prize for best Derby outfit. (Better steam that hat, ladies.) It runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and Sissy's claims you don't need a reservation unless you plan to stay for dinner, which you know you will. Odds of getting laid: 4:2
Day at the Derby benefiting Love for Kids at Circle R Ranch -- The ups: this celebration features bourbon tastings, betting for prizes, mint juleps, live music, a garden hat contest and food, all on a gorgeous piece of property that feels decidedly southern. Also, it's for two great children's health causes. The downs: tickets begin at $75 and include only "your first drink." Odds of getting laid: 11:1
Lone Star Park Racing -- If you want to really feel like you're in Kentucky, join the masses filling the cheap seats at Lone Star Park. There's hat judging at 3 p.m. (the two shining stars receive $500) and live music by Big Mouth in the awesomely named Courtyard of Champions. Odds of getting laid: Never take someone home from the track.
If you enjoy being at the track but find general admission too pedestrian, why not support the Arts Council Northeast at its fancy party? Individual tickets start at 150 bucks and come with an open bar, a "lavish buffet," live racing and live/silent auctions. Odds of getting laid: 8:1
Polo on the Lawn benefiting Project Transformation -- This is a great event, especially if you want to dip into the fancy life but stay rooted in your pocketbook's reality. For $45 you can picnic on the grassy sidelines (I'd bring nice china and fried chicken), watch two polo matches, sip complementary champagne from a commemorative glass during the halftime divot stomp, pretend to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and watch the Derby in fashionable company. Plus, your entry cash goes to a great cause. Odds of getting laid: 18:1 (Project Transformation is a ministry-based charity)
Derby Run 5K and Derby Day party -- Match a sunhat to your running shorts and join this 5K and Fun Run tradition, which returns on Saturday afternoon to fight poverty in Collin County. After the footrace wraps, Derby Day begins. It's a family friendly festival featuring dunk tanks, basketball shoot-outs and other very un-Derbylike things. Odds of getting laid: 1,000:1
Kentucky Derby Watch Party with Bello Wines -- Yes, the age range of those attending WineTastic!'s Derby event are a mystery to me, but sometimes surprises are fun. For $35 dollars you'll sample the Bello wines as they are poured and presented by wine dude, Chuck Weintraub. They'll have televisions glued to Derby coverage, offer a few snacks and even have some special vinos shipped in for the affair. Odds of getting laid: ??? (This is a dark horse candidate)
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-- Aggie Alums take over Sandbar for derby day with a massive crawfish boil, live music and Louisville races on the big screen. Feeling hungry, but didn't spend four to six years in College Station? No sweat. All you need to go: A great, but imagined, bonfire tale; loads of scarlet colored apparel; and $30. Done. Odds of getting laid: 5:2
Baylor University Crawfish Boil Benefit at Stan's Blue Note -- It's a battle of the college crawfish boils! Baylor takes over your favorite Greenville sports bar for a celebration of mudbugs and horse races. It's only $20 and should be one laid back crowd. Odds of getting laid: 9:2
10th Annual Mississippi Mudfest at the F.O.E. -- Wear a hat, don't wear a hat, nobody cares how you look at the F.O.E. You'll get free keg beer, all the mudbugs you can eat, Derby on the televisions, brazen bartenders, 2 for $1 oysters and the feeling that you just supported the F.O.E., all for -- wait for it -- $15. Yes to all of that. Odds of getting laid: 2:1