This is our first Derby weekend living in Louisville. While the festivities officially started three weeks ago with Thunder Over Louisville, and over fifty other events around town leading up to a two-minute horse race, the only one I had any concern over are the races themselves, since we live about a mile or so from Churchill Downs. What will this day bring? Here is my diary of the weekend:
Friday morning - As I leave for work at 10am, the cars are streaming towards the track (Friday is the Kentucky Oaks - just as big of a party day). Fortunately I am going the opposite direction, so they aren't slowing me down. The local Catholic church has people dancing around with signs promising "$3, parking, concessions, and shuttle to the track". Probably easier money than bingo, so I don't blame them.
Friday evening - The drive home (about 9:30pm) is also uneventful. All the little hole-in-the-wall bars along the way seem to be packed with people - most have even set up big tents to get attention, and to have a place to smoke, since you're not supposed to smoke inside businesses in Kentucky. Should be interesting if we decide to go karaoking tomorrow night - there's usually only a dozen people when we start off. Special note: it rained all day, and I'm thrilled I didn't go to the track.
Saturday morning, 9:30am - It's Derby day. The only way I'd know it right now from the comfort of my own home is the constant stream of helicopters flying around overhead. I'm sure that's nothing more than traffic reporters. I do hope to see a blimp at some point today - blimps rock!
1:00pm - We head the opposite direction for lunch at Texas Roadhouse (which I always find funny that this chain started in Clarksville, IN). It's not very busy at all. The waitress asks us if we're heading to the track today, and we tell her that we live so close, we just wanted to get away from the sounds. She doesn't quite get it, and says, "They're doing a lot on the waterfront too!" I reply, "Good, can't hear that from the house!"
5:00pm - After watching some of our pre-recorded programs and relaxing on the couch, I decide to fire up the grill to cook some Italian sausage. With helicopters still circling our house, I keep telling myself "You're doing nothing wrong! They're not after you!" Reminder to refill my Thorazine...
6:15pm - We flip thru channels and happen to catch the actual race. Can't remember who won, because RedFaery and I were too saddened to think about anything other than the horse that broke it's ankles and had to be euthenized on the spot.
7:00pm - We decided to walk two blocks to Wendy's for a couple of small Frostys. As we passed thru the grocery store's parking lot on the way, all I see are traffic jams and trash. The temperature had dropped about 20 degrees, and the drunk partygoers were chilly. One couple stumbled by us wrapped in what looked like an "emergency blanket" - a sheet of tinfoil for those that weren't Scouts or military.
Wendy's was only moderately busy, with many people from the track. Mostly college age kids that probably yelled "WOOO!" a lot and lifted their tops at the track. They looked like hell. We got our Frostys to go.
As we were almost home, we spotted a driver that passed in front of us that shouldn't be behind the wheel (and I praise myself for having the foresight to move my car off the street and into the driveway). He had red splotchy skin, bulging eyes, and his head was reared all the way back to keep it upright. Despite how dangerous he was behind the wheel, we could do nothing but laugh at the sight!
9:00pm - RedFaery finally had enough strength back to try karaoke, so we walk down to the bar. As expected, it was busy. But it was also uncomfortably loud and rowdy - so maybe next week.
In summary, our first Derby Day wasn't too bad. Not much traffic actually walking by our house, so that's good. I'm sure the trash is still out there, so that's a strike against it. Sad that I didn't get to see a blimp. Maybe someday we'll actually go to the race.