Kentucky Derby celebrations this weekend

(photo courtesy of boboroshi via Flickr)

This year, the Kentucky Derby will celebrate its 135th year. Held in Louisville, Kentucky, it is the first leg of the U.S. Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, and serves as a cap to the two-week long Kentucky Derby Festival. Like all long-running events, the festival is filled with tradition and pageantry. There's the eye-catching hats, the mint juleps (bourbon, mint, sugar), and even an official stew called burgoo (veggies, beef, pork, chicken--hopefully no horse). Want to celebrate what has been dubbed "the most exciting two minutes in sports?" Check out these Minnesota locations celebrating Saturday, May 2.

Keegan's Irish Pub

16 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.252.0880.

The post time may be 5 p.m., but the party starts at 3 p.m. at this friendly Northeast Irish pub. That's when mint juleps appear on the menu. Guests are encouraged to wear fancy hats and proper attire, and all TVs will be tuned to the race. This will be the first year that they are officially celebrating the event, though the turnout each year has been big enough for the bar to be a worthy derby-watching spot.

The St. Paul Grill

350 Market St., St. Paul; 651.224.7455.

The St. Paul Grill will be celebrating horse racing throughout the run of the Triple Crown (May 2 to June 6). The party starts Saturday at noon with a reception followed by a Kentucky Derby Bourbon Luncheon at 1 p.m. For $45 a seating, diners can enjoy deviled quail eggs, Benedictine sandwiches, crab and watercress salad, something called "Kentucky Hot Brown," and a banana custard.

Those looking for something a little more low-key can enjoy a Kentucky Derby Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, during which you can enjoy three specialty drinks for only $3. Those three drinks are: the Grill's take on the mint julep (fresh mint, rye whiskey, soda, mint syrup), a bourbon sour (bourbon, lemon, house-made sugar syrup), and the Southern Belle (rye whiskey, triple sec, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine). All TVs will also be tuned to the races.

Dixie's On Grand

695 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651.222.7345.

Once again the Victorian Village bar will be celebrating the derby with day-long drinking and music. Ladies are encouraged to wear their finest (and silliest hats). TVs will air the race, and Kentucky band Curtis and the Kicks will play right before the race and again at 10 p.m.

Canterbury Park

1100 Canterbury Rd., Shakopee; 952.445.7223.

The park officially opens later in the month with live racing, but this is the obvious choice for true fans of gambling and horse racing. The gates will open at 8:30 a.m. with tellers ready to place bets immediately. The facility's over 500 TVs will be tuned to the event, mint juleps will be served, and patrons can cheer on Canterbury's own Win Willy who will be running in the race that day.