Derby season is upon us; do you know how to plan the perfect casual, backyard party?

This is an exciting time of the year in the Derby city, but planning the party can be stressful with all of the “to do” lists of food, drinks, decoration, guest lists, and the list goes on and on! Oh, and don’t forget the weather! You know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Kentuckiana, just wait a minute, it will change”!

I’ve had many Derby parties over the years and I could tell many a tale, but I’ll focus on what will make your planning and the day itself easier. Here are some tips that will help you plan a family friendly or adults only back yard Derby party.


  1. Decide on a guest list. You will need to do this first to help decide on the amount of space you will need and what kind of accommodations (mainly bathroom facilities, but we will get to that). Remember that usually 70-80 percent of who you invite attend.
  2. Once you have decided on the number, call Rent A Tent for your tent rental, tables, lights and chairs. We can help you with anything else you need from dance floors to heaters, and if you want to get fancy they can help  with linens as well.
  3. If you plan on a family friendly party, you can also rent bounce houses from Rent A Tent, which will keep the kiddos entertained for hours.
  4. Decide on your food! Food is always the center of any event, so choose wisely. I have found the easiest for the backyard, casual party is to provide the meat and have friends bring a side dish for a fun pitch-in style. You can easily order fried chicken from your local grocery deli (which is always a hit), or if you have a grill master in the family, burgers, dogs and brats are always yummy. However, if you decide to have your event catered, call them immediately to ensure availability.
  5. Decide what you plan to provide! If you are providing drinks, choose the easiest route for YOU. Big decorative jugs of lemonade, tea and water are an easy route. You can throw in some mint or a mixture of fruits for flavorful water, or buy 2 liters every time they are on sale and provide a big cooler of ice.
  6. One VERY IMPORTANT part of your party is a place to watch the races! Make sure to have a plan for a secure place to put a television as well as running extension cords, and cable/satellite hook-up.
  7. Every Derby party has the RACE pots. Enlist your kiddos and make those up the day before. You can usually pick up race forms at your local Kroger stores around Louisville. Write the race number on the outside of an envelope, along with the $ amount.
  8. Plan a place for parking for your guest and have it clearly marked. Have a back up plan other than your yard for those rainy days if you don’t want your yard torn up.
  9. Have a volleyball net, horseshoe pit or corn hole boards set up for guest to get a rowdy game going in between those races.
  10. And last but definitely not least, rent a port-a -pot from A-1 Port A Pots! Trust me, you will thank me for this one! From experience, the last thing you want is kids and adults running in and out of your house! You can rent just standard port-a-pots or go fancy and get port-a-pots that come on trailers and look like you are in your own house.


Now go have some fun!Party planning can be stressful, but using these steps will help you sit back and enjoy a fun filled day!