Wear an ugly hat and get lit at one of these Kentucky Derby parties


This Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, horses will run for top honors in... horse running. The whole thing takes about two minutes. That means revelers need to pad the hype and post-run jubilation with booze, weird fashion, and fun. Whether you prefer to down a few pints of Summit at a nearby bar or want to an excuse to get fancy and sloshed on expertly made mint juleps, we have options for you.

If you want to get boozy on a budget:
Admission is free, and there will be shenanigans at these bars. Bring cab fair.

The Herkimer Downs & Kentucky Derby Party
This benefit for Sundown Horse Shelter features prizes, joke races, drink specials, and screening of the horse race. May 6, 2-6 p.m. Free. Herkimer Pub & Brewery, 2922 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-821-0101.

Derby Day at the Turf
Featuring a screening of the race on the big-screen TV, plus prizes for biggest hat, best hat, and ugliest hat. May 6, 2 p.m. Free. Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-647-0486.

Derby Party
Watch the race live on TV. With Jim Beam Double Oaked Mint Juleps, contests for best dressed and best hat. 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Volstead House Whiskey Bar & Speakeasy, 1278 Lone Oak Rd., Eagan; 651-340-7175.


Brit's Annual Kentucky Derby Party

Featuring five outdoor screens showing the horse race, with live music from Bluegrass Fiasco, cigar rolling, a photo wall, and mint julep and Salmon Creek brut specials. May 6, 1 p.m. Free. Brit's Pub & Eating Establishment, 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-3908.

Derby Day Party
Featuring food and drink specials and a hat contest. May 6, 1:30-6 p.m. Free. Running Aces Casino and Racetrack, 15201 Zurich St. NE, Columbus; 651-925-4600.

These parties aren't free, but they sure look like fun:
Pony up a pretty penny to party in style; some of these happenings also have proceeds going to a good cause.

3rd Annual Kentucky Derbatante
Betty Danger’s is proof that kitsch knows no bounds. This Saturday, the pastel and hot pink country club is throwing its own Kentucky Derby party, inviting revelers to celebrate in its playfully twisted fashion. There will be a hat contest, bouncy horse races, a petting zoo, a photo booth, and all kinds of themed cocktails. Tickets include a mint julep, which should lead to round after round of croquet, polo, and mini-golf. The northeast Minneapolis hot spot will also offer a full menu and — who can forget — a Ferris wheel. Post time is approximately 5:34 p.m., and the shindig goes into the evening with a dance party led by DJ Strangelove. For tickets and more info, visit May 6, 2:30-10 p.m. $18.95. Betty Danger's Country Club, 2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-315-4997. --Loren Green

2nd Annual Kentucky Derby Viewing Party
Featuring carnival games, giant Jenga, live music from Jack Brass Band and DJ Strangelove, prizes for best dressed and best hat, cigar rolling station, specialty cocktails, over 20 screens on the two levels, and a VIP Turf Club ticket that will have green turf laid down, white picket fencing, lounge areas, buffet. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Pinky Swear Foundation, an organization that supports kids and families dealing with cancer. Tickets are available at $25 (includes a complimentary beer or cocktail); $45 VIP. Noon to 6 p.m. Union Restaurant, 731 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-455-6690. 

The Kentucky Derby Day Affair
Fundraiser featuring a polo match, luncheon buffet, fashion, auctions, prizes, music, and a viewing of the horse race. Tickets and more info at May 6, 1-7 p.m. $100. Nicollet Island Pavilion, 40 Power St., Minneapolis; 651-642-1049.

University Club of St. Paul's Signature Kentucky Derby Party
Featuring southern-inspired food and drinks, live race feed, and fashionable attire and hats. Tickets and more info here. May 6, 3-6 p.m. $45. The University Club of Saint Paul, 420 Summit Ave., St. Paul; 651-222-1751.

Kentucky Derby Day

Featuring live racing, screening of the Derby, a hat contest, a selfie station, and live music from Boogie Wonderland. May 6, 1:45-6 p.m. $7. Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury Rd. S., Shakopee; 952-445-7223.

Post Parday: Derby Day Affair After Party
Featuring dinner buffet, music, and dancing. Tickets and more info here. May 6, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. $25-$50. Muse Event Center, 107 3rd Ave. N., Minneapolis; 952-562-5620.

6th Annual Derby for a Cure
This viewing party is also a diabetes research benefit. May 6, 2-6 p.m. Free. 508 Bar & Restaurant, 508 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-339-0036.

Run For The Roses: A Kentucky Derby Celebration
Featuring Derby-themed activities, food and drinks, viewing of the horse race, best dressed contest, poker tables, cigar lounge, wine tasting, silent auction, and a fashion show. Tickets and more info here. May 6, 3 p.m. $30-$40. Warehouse Winery, 6415 Cambridge St., St. Louis Park; 763-232-3707.