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Shelby Foster

We may be quite far from the Kentucky Downs, but Dallasites love any excuse to get dressed up and pour a Mint Julep. Lucky for us, there are plenty of parties around town to get us in an especially Southern state of mind.

Do a little Derby pre-gaming at Think Ahead Group’s Cinco de Derby party benefiting the Center for BrainHealth on Friday, May 5. Held at the gorgeous Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens, this year’s event has the unique theme of “Sombreros and Seersucker,” which we can really get behind. Tickets are $67 for TAG members and $87 for non-members here.

Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy’s annual Day at the Races fundraiser boasts a best dressed contest, silent auction, lawn games, live music and Southern fare on Saturday, May 6. Tickets start at $150 and are available at dallasderbyparty.org.

For a free option, look no further than The Rustic’s Talk Derby to Me party. Their Mint Juleps sound particularly tempting, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemon mint, and a dash of Ysabel Regina brandy served over crushed ice. You can even earn $200 in gift cards with their best dressed contest at 3PM. RSVP here.

And if you’re determined to see the action up close, head to Lone Star Park. They will be holding live races starting at 10:30AM, and showing a simulcast of the Kentucky Derby at 5:30PM. This is our top pick for families, due to their dedicated Family Fun Park with bounce houses, pony rides, and a petting zoo. More info on lonestarpark.com.

What to wear to all these fabulous events? Vineyard Vines, of course. This is the seventh year that the New England brand has maintained the title of official style of the Kentucky Derby.

Derby Patchwork Sportcoat ($495)
Horseshoe Tie in Light Blue ($95), Horse Silks Tie in Red ($95), Mint Julep Tie in Navy ($95), Horse Repeat Tie in Rhododendron ($95)
Kentucky Derby Jockey Whale Pocket T-Shirt in Conch ($44)
Finish Line Printed Breaker Pants in Cornflower ($98.50)
Derby Seersucker Baseball Hat in Hydrangea ($36)


Run for the Roses Printed Derby Dress in Cornflower ($198)
Horse Shoe Lace Dress in White Cap ($178)
Horse Print Scarf in Tide Blue ($108)
Derby Seersucker Baseball Hat in Peony ($36)
Straw Derby Clutch in White Cap ($108)
Beaded Chandelier Earrings in Pink ($39.50)