Kentucky Derby Parties
Saturday marks the 149th Kentucky Derby. The “most exciting two minutes in sports” is surrounded by long-standing traditions that date back to the first race held in 1875. KentuckyDerby.com, the official website of the Run for the Roses, calls it a “celebration of Southern culture” and a “true icon of Americana.”
Locally, you can dust off that seer-sucker suit, hat or fascinator and strut your style at a party. The pandemic has squelched some of the public gatherings the past few years, but the party is revving up at the Fitz at Manor Vail where the Children’s Garden of Learning preschool is hosting its fundraiser once again.
“We’ve had so many parents asking if this event was coming back and we are happy to invite everyone to join us on Saturday and encourage them to dress up,” said Nicole Teaver, director of education at Children’s Garden of Learning.
The Vail-based nonprofit relies on donations in many forms from parents, alumni and the greater Vail community. The Vail Derby Party allows those with kids or without a chance to enjoy the event in a fun setting while raising money for childcare.
“Although this event benefits our school, we want it to be a party for the whole community,” Teaver said.
The event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and the horse race begins at 4:57 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include two drink tickets for beer or wine and heavy appetizers. There will be a bourbon tasting station set up as well. Before and after the horse race, enjoy tunes from Dave Tucker.
There are also silent auction items ranging from skis to gift cards and wine to a bracelet-making party with Squash Blossom and tickets to a Notre Dame versus Pittsburgh football game. Place your bets on the betting board for your chance to win, but more importantly, all proceeds from that game will go toward Children’s Garden of Learning.
Children’s Garden of Learning provides care for kids aged 18 months to 5 years old.
“What we’re seeing right now is a huge need for childcare. To give parents the opportunity to still work and provide these services is a big deal for us and fundraisers like this allow Children’s Garden of Learning to continue to do that,” Teaver said.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite and you can purchase them at the door if it is not sold out, so it’s best to get your tickets in advance.
There will also be a Kentucky Derby Party at the 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company’s Tasting Room on Bridge Street. The festivities will kick off at 2 p.m. and derby attire is highly encouraged. You can even get a free mint julip if you dress in your best derby wear. Stick around after the race and enjoy live music with Chuck Grossman and Brent Gordon.
If you plan to watch the Kentucky Derby at home and want to make your own mint julip, here’s a recipe. According to KentuckyDerby.com, over 120,000 mint julips will be served at Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at the race venue, Churchill Downs.
Perfect Mint Julip
- Fresh mint
- Crushed ice (crushed ice works better than cubed ice)
- Woodford Reserve, Bardstown, Maker’s Mark or Michter’s bourbon
- Sugar cubes, straight sugar or simple syrup
Put four or five mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and muddle the leaves with a muddle stick, Add half an ounce of simple syrup or sugar to the leaves and muddle some more. Add two-and-a-half ounces of bourbon. Add crushed ice until the glass gets frosty then garnish with a leaf or two of mint and serve cold. If you have a pewter, silver, copper or aluminum cup, serve the mint julip in that.
Serve your mint julip with dishes like the famous Hot Brown open-faced sandwich, bourbon meatballs or pretty much anything with Vidalia onions.
Cinco de Mayo
We checked with several of the area’s Mexican restaurants to see what’s going on for Cinco de Mayo. Margs, tacos, even flautas, pozole and menudo will be on special up and down the valley. Please note that Los Amigos, El Sabor and El Segundo in Vail are closed this time of year. But, El Segundo invites you to its Eagle location for the fun, bites and drinks. El Segundo in downtown Eagle Ranch will be serving up its Herradura house margaritas for $5. Stop by for good vibes, this deal will be running all day long.
In Vail, the Four Seasons Resort and Residences is offering specials at the Remedy Bar for Cinco de Mayo. Get a taco and a Mexican beer for $23 or a taco and margarita for $30. How does a carne asada taco with grilled flank steak, corn tortillas and smoked tomato salsa sound?
In Minturn, head to The Mexican Bar & Grill for 2-for-1 house margaritas for $6.99 and draft beer for $5. They’ve been busy in the kitchen making flautas, pozole and menudo so take advantage of these specials.
Agave in Avon is hosting a Cinco de Mayo party on Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. with food and drink specials. Enjoy $2 al pastor tacos, $3 chicken, elote and mahi mahi tacos, $3 select draft beers, $4 Modelo Especial beers and $5 house margaritas. There will be live music as well. From 3 to 5 p.m. come to the meet and greet with Pedro the Donkey, Agave’s mascot. If you can’t make it to Agave, here’s the recipe that you can make at home:
Agave’s Coconut Margarita
- 1.5-ounce coconut tequila
- .5-ounce Cointreau
- .5-ounce fresh lime
- .25 agave nectar
- 1.5-ounce sweet sour mix
- .5 coconut water
Also in Avon, stop by Sabor Mazatlan for 2-for-1 margaritas. You get to pick the size and pick the flavor, so go big.
Fiesta Jalisco in Avon is going to be doing drink specials all day long.
As a reminder, Maya is no longer the restaurant in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. Stoke and Rye, also a Richard Sandoval restaurant, took over the space last June. But, if you find yourself there, they have plenty of tequilas to try. The Pasado de Moda cocktail is very popular featuring Casamigos reposado along with mezcal, agave and hellfire bitters.
Since 1989, Fiesta’s Café & Cantina in Edwards has been bringing the fiesta and this Friday will be no different. Stop by for food and drink specials and stick around for giveaways, piñata breaking for the kids all day and a DJ will start spinning tunes at 5 p.m. Save room for one of my favorites, the shrimp enchiladas on blue corn tortillas, and other great items on the menu.
Although not typically thought of as a place to grab a margarita, the Riverwalk Theater in Edwards does serve up the frozen kind for $8 on the patio, so, you don’t even have to go to the movies to enjoy this treat while supplies last.
In Eagle, once again you have El Segundo and the specials mentioned above, and you can also stop by Casa Mexico next to the Back Bowl. It’s fiesta time and Casa Mexico is offering 2-for-1 margaritas and micheladas – any kind, any size, any flavor, all day.
This is just a partial list, so stop by your favorite Mexican restaurant and see if they are doing any deals. Salud!
Community Pride Highway Cleanup
Now that the snow has melted, the trash is being revealed along the roadways, so it is time for the spring ritual, the Community Pride Highway Cleanup, which happens this Saturday. The Eagle River Watershed Council has been busy organizing teams and assigning miles of roadways for an event that has been going on for over two decades. Every year, hundreds of volunteers participate in the county-wide effort.
The time commitment is only a few hours in the morning on Saturday. From 9 a.m. until noon volunteers will collect as much trash as possible. When this event first started, nearly 50 tons of trash had accumulated and was removed. Now, an average of 10-15 tons of trash is removed annually, so each year does make a difference and you’ll see that difference on Sunday, the day after the cleanup, and how nice it looks alongside the roadways.
This is a great way to give back to the community and the results are tangible, you will see a difference and you can be filled with pride knowing that just by showing up, you helped make Eagle County more beautiful than it already is.
Volunteer registration is required so go to ERWC.org for more information. They can assign you to a team and even a certain geographical area if you want. The areas include:
- Red Cliff/Minturn/Vail
- Wolcott/Red Canyon/Eagle
- Gypsum/Dotsero/Colorado River Road
Moving Mountains for Marc
Since 1996, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund has provided locals with financial help during medical crises. The nonprofit has awarded 2,000 grants to members of the community and $9 million has been given out to help ease the burden on our friends and neighbors. This Friday, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund is hosting a fundraiser called Moving Mountains for Marc for long-time local, Dr. Marc Peck.
Dr. Peck has served Eagle County with his medical expertise for over three decades. He was first diagnosed with cancer but was able to continue to work full-time for years. His health issues caused him to decrease his practice hours to part-time, and now, with an additional diagnosis of ALS, he has been forced to stop working altogether. His wife, Judy, is no longer able to work either, and she and their five children are taking care of Marc. Proceeds from the event will allow them to provide full-time care in their home and keep Marc there for as long as possible. The medical bills and other expenses are stacking up as well, so this event will hopefully put a dent in that.
The fundraiser hosted by the Vail Valley Charitable Fund will be held at the EagleVail Pavilion on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. A $35 suggested donation will not only support the Peck’s but also get you two drinks and heavy appetizers. Beaver Liquors, West Vail Liquor Mart, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits and Bottle ‘N Cork have all donated the beverages and Sweet Basil, Craftsman, Route 6 Café and Moe’s Original BBQ are cooking up the apps.
There will be live music from Trees Don’t Move and Moving Mountains Band. The silent auction is stacked with great items from Vail Resorts EpicPromise (think spa, dining, retail and golf), restaurants like Pazzo’s, Mountain Standard, Vendetta’s and Montauk, and there are other items up for grabs from Revolution Power Yoga, Eagle Ranch Golf Course, P Furniture & Design, Valley Girl, Kitchen Collage, Squash Blossom, Antler’s, Vintage Magnolia and 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co.
To learn more go to VVCF.org.
Bighorn Gravel Recon Rides
Time to get off the couch and head out on the bike and the latest craze is gravel riding. Gravel bikes are a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, with drop handlebars and wider tires to help you navigate unpaved roads. Eagle County boasts the Bighorn Gravel ride and this year’s event will be June 23-25. This Saturday gives you a chance to check out portions of the courses so you can be more familiar with them before the race.
There will be two rides on Saturday exploring portions of the 85-mile and 50-mile courses. Recon Ride #1 is the shorter ride, covering 19 miles and a 2,000-foot vertical gain. This route follows the Gravel Curious Course which also is the first 16 miles of the Ram’s Horn Escape Course.
Recon Ride #2 is the longer ride at 48 miles and climbs 4,500 vertical feet. This route follows the start of the Ram’s Horn Escape course to preview the first 31 miles or so before going back downhill into Gypsum. Both rides will start and end at the Gypsum Recreation Center. The group will depart at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The Bighorn Gravel event was founded by Jake Wells and Mike Brumbaugh. Wells is a multi-time U.S. Cyclocross national champion and is now focusing more on gravel and endurance events. He owns FORM Attainment Studio in Edwards which focuses on functional strength training, bike fitting and endurance coaching. Brumbaugh is an accomplished cyclist, climber, skier and entrepreneur and the owner of Venture Sports.
After the rides, stay for a short tech clinic and complimentary nutrition and hydration from The Feed. The rides are open to the public and free of charge but make sure to RSVP to reserve your spot at Eventbrite. You can also learn more about the Big Horn Gravel event at BighornGravel.com.