Things to Do

Derby Dos: Where to Celebrate the Kentucky Derby Around Town


Time to break out the seersucker suits, pastel sundresses, and wide-brimmed hats! The Kentucky Derby is upon us (it takes place this Saturday, May 2), so head to these Washington venues to make the most exciting two minutes in sports last the whole day.

Get an early start on Derby Day at the Jockey Club at the Fairfax at Embassy Row, where festivities begin at 11 AM. Choose from a menu of creative cocktails such as the Louisville Cooler, Crown of Roses, Royal Stretch, and Churchill Downs B&B. Celebrate the whole week with the Jockey Club’s Kentucky Derby prix fixe menu, featuring white-asparagus soup with Kentucky onions and chive oil, pancetta-wrapped pan-roasted rockfish, and classic derby pie.

On race day, Bourbon in Adams Morgan and Glover Park will offer craft juleps, derby punch, and complimentary Southern-style snacks from 4 to 7 PM.

The Willard InterContinental’s Round Robin bar hosts its annual Bonnets and Bow-Ties party from 4 to 7. The $75 ticket includes a buffet with Southern food and two mint juleps, which are served in signature Kentucky Derby glassware. There will also be giveaways at the door. Busy this weekend? There’ll be parties at the Willard for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes celebrations in May and June.

Horse lovers can take part in a friendly riding competition at the Maryland Therapeutic Riding farm (1141 Sunrise Beach Rd., Crownsville; 410-923-6800), a nonprofit that helps special-needs riders and provides riding for rehabilitation. Individuals or teams of two can compete in the Triple Crown Equi-Challenge, which includes a number of events such as jumping, dressage, and navigating an obstacle course. The less horse-inclined can watch the Derby live on flat screens. Food, wine, beer, and craft cocktails will be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit MTR. Tickets ($30) can be purchased here.

Party in style at a private home in Great Falls to benefit PRS (formerly Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services), a nonprofit that provides support for individuals with mental illness. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a shrimp-and-oyster bar, desserts, and of course, mint juleps while listening to live music. Silent and live auctions, raffle drawings, and 50/50 wagers on the ponies add to the day’s excitement. For more information or to purchase tickets ($125), call 703-531-6321 or e-mail