Hospitality Tents at Churchill Downs
One of the major things you want to do if you are looking to be a "local" is to find a hospitality tent to get invited to for Kentucky Derby. Various tents are rented out by most of the major local corporations and here is where you get your mint juleps and your race day food.
Each of the tents is equipped with televisions to know when the next race is scheduled for, and they are strategically located close to betting stations. Remember, you have to bet big to win big!
In our hospitality tent, we were served macaroni and cheese, potato salad, fresh roasted ham and turkey, as well as the infamous derby pie!
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One thing you have to know about Kentuckians, they love their whiskey. In fact, it is so famous here that they actually make a type of whiskey found nowhere else, Bourbon. Similar to Champagne producing the only sparkling wine in France, Bourbon is unique to the Bluegrass state. Within the Bourbon family, there are certainly different grades, but consistently at the top of the heap is Woodford Reserve. Woodford is named for the county in which it is made, at the distillery in Versailles, which is the heart of horse racing country as well.
Woodford is the sponsor of both the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders' Cup, which means it was the logical choice for locals in the tents at the Derby.
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Louisville Free Library
After I tried to access some newspaper obituaries in Frankfort, only to be told that they didn't have that particular microfiche, we went to the Louisville Library. They did have a lot of the fiche, and I could make copies. Bob even found a book on Carl Brenner with a list of his paintings (unfortunately no pictures)
I could have stayed longer, but we had to feed the parking meter in the lot across the street, and also I got hungry.
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Thunder over Louisville
Thunder over Louisville kicks off the two week long Kentucky Derby festival which culminates in the Kentucky Derby (of course). Thunder is the largest fireworks display in North America and is absolutely stunning to watch. In addition to the Fireworks there is a huge airshow. The Chow Wagon offers a variety of heart clogging food from Smoked Turkey Legs and Funnel Cakes to Corn Dogs and Bar-B-Que. It's all good but the crowds are massive.
The best hotel to watch from is the Galt House. If not in a hotel though the closer you can get to the second street bridge, the better.
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The correct pronunciation of....
As you can see, there are many opinions, even from the locals. But JuliaL hit the nail on the head: LOU-ah-vull. The MOST important thing is that the "s" is silent, but the SECOND most important thing is to pronounce the last syllable VULL.... make it rhyme with bull. (Like they do throughout the south with Knoxvull, Nashvull, etc.) If you get those two things right, you can almost do anything else you want to and no one will think twice about it. Network news anchors say "louie-vull", which is acceptable. But I guarantee if you say lou-ah-VILLE you will sound like you're not from around here.
Beer to Go
I'm not sure if the qualifies as a local custom, but we thought it was very cool. In Louisville liqour stores, you can fill your own growler of beer. Choose from one of the many beers on tap, fill it up, and your off.
This made our day even if it is only a small detail.
The pronounciation of...
The pronounciation of Louisville is in question..and if you don't say it exactly right, you are labeled as an 'out of towner' Lou- ah -ville'' will probably get you there..We have a number of ethnic restaurants, but I definitely recommend the third street favorite 'Vietnamese kitchen' which is the best ethnic food this side of the former Saigon. If you are an ethnic visitor, you might want to go to the crane house on third street which is an international club for foreign visitors.
The state bird is the Cardinal and the mascot of the University of Louisville is the Cardinal or Red Bird..so that is why you see a lot of red in louisville and lots of Cardinals..I actually bleed blue as i am a University of Kentucky fan..the arch (friendly) rival of the University of Louisville. Go Cats ! Go Big Blue !
Louisvillians aren't really...
Louisvillians aren't really the best drivers, though I've seen worse in other states, but be ready for the fast lane, slow cruisers. Police like to be undercover here, so watch out for them. Some of the cars to watch out for:
Green Camero with dark windows,
White Camero, with the Louisville Police design on the sides. The number of this car is 748, located on the left side of the rear bumper.
I have seen a maroon undercover car
Crown Victorias of colors: White, Tan, other...
I'll have more on this soon, including places to watch for police.
Watch for police at the following places.
In the center medians, many times under bridges or on the downswing of hills.
Near the bridge over LaGrange Road.
Under the Old Henry Road bridge.
I haven't seen many here, but they'd hang out along the center median.
I haven't seen many inside of the Gene Snyder, but I'm sure they're there. Northwards towrads Cincy, anywhere, it varies, but generally hidden behind bushes, or even out in the open on a turn-around.
In the city, cops hide at times on side roads, hoping to catch you going fast in 35 zones.
In general, I have seen cops patrolling 42, making U-turns and driving up and down waiting for the right person to make the wrong move. So, while many go 60 mph, as it is easy to do, try to keep it down.
At the Holiday Manor Shopping Center and Northfield area, watch for cops. The speed limit is 35, and they enforce it.
Nearing Prospect, slow down. The police here are strict, and seem to enjoy giving big tickets.
Yes, police are police, and they like to give tickets for people that speed, but I think in general, Louisville's police are decent. I have a few friends in the department and they are all great guys.
Again, more later!
Well, I already mentioned the...
Well, I already mentioned the whole pronunciation of the city thing. People are relatively friendly here I guess. I think that the driving skills around here, though, leave something to be desired. Basically, Louisville is somewhere in between a large city and a small city... so there's not the rudeness of New York, nor quite the hospitality of some small town in Kansas.
The correct pronunciation of...
The correct pronunciation of the city is 'Loo-uh-vull'
Even though geographically Louisville is neither north nor south, but smack in the middle, we consider ourselves southerners.
College Basketball is the most popular sport in the city. People who live in the city itself are fans of the University of Lousville Cardinals, and for the most part people who are from 'the counties' surrounding the city are fans of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. March Madness is a certifiable illness in Louisville. People go nuts during the NCAA tournament.
Most native Louisvillians don't attend the Kentucky Derby. They attend the race for fillies held the day before the Derby - The Kentucky Oaks.
Mint Julep 2 cups sugar 2...
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint CRUSH THE MINT!
1.5 oz. Kentucky Bourbon (get some good stuff for a Julep - Knob Creek, or Old Rip Van Winkle - one of THE BEST)
Calling it "Louis - ville" will defintely mark you as an outsiders. Say "Lua -vul" or "Looey - ville" instead.
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