Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Kentucky Derby

I'm not originally from Kentucky, although I grew up just across the river.  And I lived in 2 different small towns in western Kentucky, so I can say that I've always been familiar with the area, but never did I have any idea how big the Kentucky Derby was until we moved to Louisville 2 years ago.  I was amazed!  Now we don't live in Louisville, but we're close enough that the lesson plans this week for both of my sons - preschool and first grade - have the same theme: Kentucky Derby.  I think the boys know more about horse racing than I do.  (Granted, that wouldn't take much!)  All of the schools in Louisville and surrounding counties have tomorrow off.  Why?  I asked, actually, and was told that it was too hard to get the teachers and staff to show up for work the day before Derby!  And the Friday before is the hometown race, the Oaks. 

So my kids are off school tomorrow.  And Malachi keeps telling me that we HAVE to go to the horse races Saturday.  I've tried to explain that there's no way I'm taking 3 little kids to the Kentucky Derby.  We've gone to Churchill Downs (when Nathaniel gets free tickets from work) and had fun for a couple of hours.  The kids like the horses, and they love that they have fun names.  But the Derby? 

It really is huge here.  The papers and magazines here show pictures of Derby fashion, Derby party foods, and of course, LOTS of Derby hats for weeks before the big event.  Celebrities come.  Rich people party at massive balls.  Average people party with friends.  It's quite amazing to me, really.  Derby in Louisville isn't just a horse race, it's an event, a tradition, a source of local pride.

So what are we doing for Derby?  We might catch it on TV.   I'll probably read about it in the paper Sunday.  And my boys will play horse race with stick horses.  I think that's enough for us. 

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