Saturday, May 3, 2014

The First Saturday In May

Our beautiful southern states often take a great deal of ribbing.  I'm sure everyone has heard at least one late night talk show host make a joke at our expense.  It is my belief we are the last group socially acceptable to make fun of without fear of the "PC Police."  And, for the most part, we take it all in stride...after all, as the old saying goes, "laugh at us all you want, but you never hear of anyone retiring up north."   

My beloved home state of Kentucky often finds itself at the mercy of sharp tongued comedians.  There are the typical stereotypes the media likes to portray... the uneducated hillbilly making moonshine, long bearded and toothless old men wearing overalls, barefoot and pregnant living in a house on get the idea.  But, there is one day every year when the entire country turns their eyes upon us and ,maybe, just maybe, gets a glimpse of the real Kentucky.

If a state could own a month, May would surely belong to Kentucky.  Vibrant green hills, miles of white plank fencing, blooming tulips, dogwoods, and redbuds, twin spires, and those giant steam engine locomotives on porcelain legs, thoroughbred racehorses, this is Kentucky on the first Saturday in May.  It is a day when the entire state attends a party, a party started at least two weeks ago and you all are invited.  You see, it is not just Derby Day, it is the Derby Festival, with a whirlwind of 70 special events and it all begins with the Opening Ceremonies - Thunder Over Louisville, the nation's largest annual fireworks show. 

Highlights of the Festival include: 

 The Derby Festival Marathon, one of many ways Kentuckians like to give back to the community

 The Great Balloon Race, with 31 participating hot air balloons in its 42nd year; 

 The Great Steamboat Race pitting our much loved Belle of Louisville against her newest rival the Belle of Cincinnati;

Originating in 1956, the Derby's oldest event The Pegasus Parade, a two hour event that in the past years has featured Grand Marshals such as *Muhammad Ali, John Wayne, *Loretta Lynn, William Shatner, *Bill Monroe, *Diane Sawyer, Colonel Harland Sanders, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

*Native Kentuckians

All of this leads up to what has been called the fastest two minutes in sports. 
 So, today I invite you to put on your loveliest hat, pour yourself a mint julep...
made with Woodford Reserve
and join us in singing My Old Kentucky Home.  
Today we will quote native Kentuckian, Abraham Lincoln, and say...
"I, too, am a Kentuckian."

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