12 Reasons Why You NEED to go to Derby Days: The Greatest Kentucky Derby Party in Charlotte

By: Derek Bastien 


Talk Derby to Me

Derby Days, hosted by the Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAM), is this very Saturday, May 7th from 3pm-7pm.

Why do I tell you this?

For many reasons (12 to be precise), but also because it’s so much fun, an article doesn't even do it justice. In an article I will write soon, it easily makes the Top 10 Best Young Professional Events of the entire year in Charlotte.

There are so many reasons why you need to go, but I’ve condensed it down to 12. 

1.   “You get to dress up real’ nice and southern, folks”

I'm telling you...so many beautiful people and outfits. Ladies always bring the heat with the creative hats, and gentlemen consistently bring the class with colorful outfits. And the best part: there is a Best Hat (Ladies) and Best Dressed (Gentleman) Award presented by Vineyard Vines.

2.   Your ticket includes unlimited beer and wine

Yep, that’s right. Not only did you get admission to one of the best events of the year, you get unlimited beer and wine with your ticket. Do you even need more convincing at this point?? 

As far as the big Young Professional Events of the year go, this one has one of the cheapest ticket prices at $40 for YAM Members (or $55 for non-members) AND includes unlimited beer and wine.

One of the best bargains around. I feel like at this point, you should already be sold, but let’s press on anyways. ;)

3.   Cuties. Cuties Everywhere.

Well, when you have one of the biggest and best Young Professional Events of the year, you also bring out the best and cutest of Charlotte…let me tell you. Not only is everyone dressed to the nines, the type and quality of people this event brings is extraordinary.

The ladies look drop-dead gorgeous, and the gentleman clean-up handsome as can be. And yes, I totally included a couple pictures of me in there. ;) Yeahhh…Sign me up, folks.

4.   “Bet” on your favorite horse with the 50/50 Raffle

Get into the true spirit of the Kentucky Derby, and purchase raffle tickets to “bet” on your favorite horse! A ticket is drawn from the winning horse basket, and that lucky person wins a Grand Prize of 50% of the Pot in Cold, Hard Cash.

My money is on the Exaggerator. I heard…the Exaggerator is so fast he’s a direct descendant from the mythical divine stallion Pegasus (See what I did there…lol).

5.   Watch “The Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports” on the Big Screen

After you’ve placed your bets, get ready for the rowdy viewing of the Kentucky Derby. People get really, really into it, especially on the home stretch, yelling their horses names and waving their hands wildly.

I'm not a passionate horse race watcher, but I hoot and holler, as well. Why wouldn't you?

6.   Taste Heaven with the Maker’s Mark Mint (Museum) Julep

If you have never had a Mint Julep (or even if you have), prepare yourself. Not only do the YAMs use Maker’s Mark, but they’re using the recipe of legendary Bob Peters from the Punch Room! The Mint Juleps will be on sale with the signature Maker's Mark Pewter Cup. 

Under the springtime sun, it’s one of the most lovely and refreshing drinks.

7.   Live Music, Lawn Games, and 400+ Young Professionals

With your Maker’s Mark Mint (Museum) Julep in Hand, enjoy timeless live music by the Time Sawyer band, engage in a game of corn hole or croquet, and mingle with the best dressed young professionals in town.

Quite possibly the best Saturday afternoon you can have in Charlotte.

8.   After-Party at Legion Brewing

This year’s after-party is being sponsored by Plaza Midwood’s first brewery Legion Brewing. The slogan of Legion Brewing is “Friends and Beer”, and I personally love the open and friendly atmosphere they boast.

9. The Event is hosted by the incredible Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAM)

This is bullet point is deserving of its own article, but to sum it up, The Young Affiliates of the Mint is a truly incredible and institutional organization here in Charlotte.

  • They are Charlotte’s first and oldest Young Professional organization.
  • They boast the largest active membership of any non-profit organization.
  • Their mission is to support the Mint Museum and enrich the community by supporting arts in Charlotte

10.   The Best Kind of People

The quality and warmth of both the YAMs and people who attend Derby Days is astounding.

I met most of my closest friends in Charlotte through the YAMs. Ryan (the man who wrote the Tinder article a couple weeks ago, and whose wedding I attended) I first met serving on the Derby Days Committee in 2014.

I developed countless meaningful relationships with incredible people in this group, and it’s a highlight of my entire residence in Charlotte. For me, life is 100% all about people and relationships, and with the YAMs, you get the very best.

11.   It’s Charity Folks: All Proceeds Support the Kids

One of the best parts of being part of the YAMs: being part of a passionate group of people enriching and giving back to the community.

This year, all proceeds raised by Derby Days are going to directly support the Mint Museum’s initiative in providing free tours for school-aged children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. In providing exposure to the arts, I believe that we are helping provide a well-rounded education to children when public education funding is at a low, and inspire tomorrow’s leaders with the universal human language of art.

12.   EatWorkPlay will be there!

Last, but certainly, not least. :) The EatWorkPlay team is super ecstatic to be supporting and sponsoring Derby Days this year, and we will be there in person!! You will most definitely see me there. I still need to figure out what I am wearing, but I will be there.


You probably don’t need 12 reasons to go, but all 12 of these reasons combined = having a seriously AMAZING time while supporting a great cause and organization. Tickets are still on sale here. Weather is showing sunny and in the 70s, so it’s looking to be an absolutely perfect afternoon. Grab your hat, grab your suit, and #MeetMeAtTheMint. :)

Derek Bastien | derek@eatworkplayclt.com

Chief Business Development Officer of EatWorkPlay, freestyle rapper, expert jokester, and professional socializer.