No plans for Derby Day? Get out your big hat or seersucker and head to 'Juleps and Jockeys'

No plans for Derby Day? Get out your big hat or seersucker and head to 'Juleps and Jockeys'

You don't have to drive (or fly) to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., to celebrate the 141st Kentucky Derby in style.

Closer to home, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana will host "Juleps and Jockeys" from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Jupiter's at the Crossing in southwest Champaign.

To celebrate what's called the greatest two minutes in sports, league members and guests — the event is open to the public — will sip mint juleps, wear fancy hats — as they do at Churchill Downs — and cheer for their favorite horse.

"We just feel the Kentucky Derby is a fun event," said Jennifer Large, the league's fundraising chairwoman. "It kind of kicks off spring, and it's a great event to bring out the community and to support the community and have a great time."

Besides the big race, the league's third annual "Juleps and Jockeys" event will also feature light appetizers, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, the CU Photo booth and betting at the party site.

The official start time for the race is 5:24 p.m. CDT. The contest will be broadcast over large- and smaller-screen TVs scattered throughout Jupiter's mezzanine, where "Juleps and Jockeys" will take place.

People who want to bet on the horses don't have to leave the party; the off-track betting parlor at Jupiter's will bring betting equipment to them.

The off-track betting parlor in Jupiter's basement does not plan a special event for the Kentucky Derby, but an employee said Monday that she expects it will be extremely busy during the race.

Large of the Junior League and Visit Champaign County think "Juleps and Jockeys" is the only Kentucky Derby public party in C-U. (Your favorite bar likely will have its televisions tuned into NBC for the live coverage, though.)

Large said more people each year show interest in "Juleps and Jockeys."

"We think we'll have 100; we would always love more. The more people, the merrier," she said.

The Junior League uses proceeds from "Juleps and Jockeys" to support community projects, mainly ones that help students get ready for school.

Through the Junior League Locker, the organization provides teachers and students with school supplies. Through Kids in the Kitchen, the league educates youths on healthful eating habits and the importance of exercise.

Last year, the league launched its newest program, Junior League Bright Starts, which provides preschoolers with both academic and social and emotional skill instruction before they enter kindergarten.

If you go

What: Junior League of Champaign-Urbana hosts its third annual "Juleps and Jockeys" party for the 141st Kentucky Derby.

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Jupiter's at the Crossing, 2511 Village Green Place, C.

Tickets: $25 in advance via or $30 at the door.

Sponsor: Ware Group General Agencies.

Extra: Silent-auction items include BJ Grand Salon & Spa gift card for a "Picture Perfect Spa Package"; Cardinals baseball tickets for July 4; Cubs tickets for May 30; gift baskets from Checkered Moon, Bags & Baubles, and Vilardos; and a portrait session with Pixels by Emily.


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