WILMINGTON — Hard to believe, but it’s already May — which means it’s time to break out your best hat, stock up on bourbon, and get ready for the Kentucky Derby.
Every year the race takes place on the first Saturday in May. The race is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and takes place at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
For those wondering what is there to do in Wilmington for the Kentucky Debry, you are in luck. Just because you can’t make it to the actual event doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the races (and some mint juleps).
Front Street Brewery
Derby Day at Front Street Brewery kicks off with live coverage of the races starting at 2 p.m. Enjoy a Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby 145 mint julep or an Old Forrester bourbon flight to celebrate in true Kentucky fashion.
Address: 9 N. Front St., Wilmington
Rocco’s Cigar Bar
With bourbon specials, mint juleps, and of course, cigars. Rocco’s will be hosting a Derby party complete with a raffle and derby race. The event starts at 4 p.m.
Address: 5671 Market St., Wilmington
Poplar Grove Plantation
It’s time for the annual Brews, Bourbon, and BBQ Derby event at Poplar Grove Plantation. Gates open at 3 p.m. and visitors are encouraged to dress in their best Derby attire (be it high class or casual) and prepare for the High Flutin’ Best Dressed Couple contest, a Low Down & Dirty Shame Couple contest.
There will also be plenty of food trucks, bourbons, beers, and of course — animals wearing hats. The race will be broadcast live from Churchill Downs.
Admission is free but donations are accepted and guests can bring lawn chairs and blankets, but no coolers.
Address: 10200 US Highway 17 N. NC 28411, Hampstead
Wilmington Ale Trail @ Rebellion
The first ever Wilmington Ale Trail Kentucky Derby party kicks off Saturday at Rebellion in downtown. Bourbon specials all day as well as Kentucky designed menu items, there will be prizes for “best dressed” and “best hat.”
Address: 15 S. Front St., Wilmington