Saturday, April 10, 2004

It's Derby time...

I had to go to an Easter egg hunt at 10 this (Saturday) morning.  I'm rushing, rushing, run out to my car, tear down the street, around the corner, up the street, and...stop.
The road is blocked by some kind of race.  I go around a different way and it's blocked there too.  I manage to make a huge backwards square in a way that's not blocked and finally get to where I'm going.

This happens to me every year, and signals the advent of DERBY TIME.  

I live in Louisville, KY, home of the Kentucky Derby.  While most people know about this horse race, most people probably don't know that this city throws a huge three-week party up to the start of the Derby, consisting of festivals, chow wagons, walks, runs, a balloon race, and a huge fireworks display.  There is also no school on the day before the Derby (Derby Eve). The Derby is the big thing here.

I really love this city, it's beautiful.  I didn't always live here, because I was an Army brat and moved around on the average of every 1 to 3 years growing up, in the US and in Germany.  I was very thankful to settle back down here when I was almost 13 and I've been here ever since.  I've lived in other beautiful places, cities with castles and 1000-year histories, but there's really no place like home.

However, for three weeks every year at this time, I'm kind of slightly frustrated being here, when I deal with the inconvenience of living in the South End of Louisville, where Churchill Downs happens to be, and the roads are closed down ALL THE TIME.  

When I was working nights a few years ago, I got off early one morning and actually had to leave my car parked a mile and a half away, and walk home.  Culprit: the mini-marathon.  And I don't even want to talk about OAKS day, when for the past two years my exit off the expressway on my way home from work has been blocked, and backtracking my way home has taken an extra hour.

And I guess I'll stop complaining, because I wouldn't trade the inconvenience for anything... since along with it comes the excitement of being in the middle of something really great!  

This city wouldn't be as charming without all the Derby craziness.  It's springtime, and the trees and flowers are blooming, the drabness of winter is being painted over with greens and pinks and purples, and my city prepares to put its best face forward to the world who watches us for two minutes every year.

And there's lots of helicopters.


  1. I can imagine the beauty of spring thru your great description.  I can appreciate the tourism & attraction that the Derby brings to your town.   BUT I would be pretty darn miserable during those three weeks.  1)  I hate crowds.  I hate traffic.  When Pittsburgh has its Regatta every summer, I deliberately avoid downtown.  To me its like the plague.  I'll catch glimpses of it on the news, that's enough to suffice.  2)  to have it disrupt your life with closed off roads is a whole nother ball of wax!  Boy would i be bitching!  parking 1.5 miles from home and walking because of it.....I'd probably have a total coronary before the whole thing was over.  THREE WEEKS???  That is such a long time.  I guess they try to stretch as much out value of it as humanly possible, but enough is enough.

    I don't blame you for complaining.  And the Helicopters!!  Probably a lot of noise.  Bet you are so so glad when its all over and things can get back to normal.  God Bless you honey!  When IS it all over, BTW?

  2. This year it's all over May 2, the day after.  This is when all the celebrities leave town and things start to go back to normal.  And everyone is either happy or sad, depending on which horse they took to win!

  3. I knew the Derby is a big thing, but didn't realize what a lead up it has.

    1. Oh yeah. It's called the Derby Festival. It used to be two weeks long, but then they added some days to make it three weeks. It's a big two week party.