I was born in Louisville. I grew up in Louisville. I graduated high school in Louisville. I just assumed that what I experienced here was experienced all around the world. That is, until I went to college in North Carolina. See, I had assumed that Derby Friday was a national holiday. I never, never, never went to school on Derby Friday (Oaks Day) and just assumed that day had the same value nationwide as Labor Day or MLK Day.
I remember being at UNC my freshman year and learning that I’d be having a final on the 1st Friday of May. It was shocking to me that people did any type of work on that day, and more harmful that I wouldn’t be making it home in time to start celebrating Derby. I remember asking my other friends on campus if they were excited about the Derby. Most looked at me as if I were speaking in another language. They either didn’t know what the Derby was or said they could have cared less about a stupid 2 minute horse race.
But I know better! The Derby in Louisville is much more than the best two minutes in sports history. It’s a fabulous two week celebration bringing people from all over the world to celebrate friendships, fireworks, great entertainment and tremendous food. You never know what famous person you may meet or which long lost friend will cross your path. There are events catered for every demographic. You can start your day with a fundraising brunch, spend an afternoon at Churchill Downs, swing by someone’s BBQ, head early evening to the Chow Wagon or a concert at Waterfront Park and then dance the night away at a party.
This is Derby, y’all!
M.Y. May 2009