Kentucky Derby Tribute Tablescape

I am royalty — twice removed.

You were thinking kings and queens, right? Well, there are all kinds of royalty, and I know a prince, which makes me twice removed from the king. To be exact, one of my best friends is the son of a jockey who had an extraordinary career in horse racing — Ted was truly racing royalty. Ironically for today’s tablescape,Ted did not win the Kentucky Derby, but went on to win both the Preakness and the Belmont races in 1949. It’s just that whenever I think of racing, I think of Ted Atkinson. This Saturday, May 3, the 140th Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race will be televised on NBC, with coverage starting at 4:00 pm ET.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute Button

It is tradition to wear a beautiful hat at the Derby, so my tablescape started with a derby-style cream felt hat with tulle and a blush-colored rose.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute HatThe pear tree is blooming in my yard, and I clipped off a few branches. They are very delicate and it’s been raining so much that they aren’t likely to last the night.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute Napkin

I’ve been working at my church to prep for this weekend’s rummage sale, and I couldn’t resist these beautifully embroidered napkins. I created a little nest of pear blossoms and mint leaves in my vintage silver napkin rings. You’ve got to have mint to have mint juleps! I’m one of those people who loves the patina of silver with a little tarnish, so I just shined these cups up a little. The thumbprint glasses are my daughter’s and match her other glassware with circle motifs. Demaris Phillips, a Louisville native and Food Network Star, featured a recipe for mint juleps on her TV show this week.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute GlasswareThe place settings are muted because they play second fiddle to the dramatic centerpiece. My Pfaltzgraff Filigree does its duty as a ground for the rest of the place setting, and mom’s Gorham Chantilly sterling flatware is appropriately festive for the occasion.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute Place Setting 2

My dad’s carved wooden spoons just seemed perfect for this tablescape, so they rest in the  glass fruit compotes. I have four of the spoons, and he created them to show customers the different woods that he used for carving.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute Carved Spoon

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute Place SettingFor the centerpiece, I added a copy of the book Secretariat’s Meadow, which is about Secretariat’s birthplace, his career, and the Chenery family who raised and raced him. Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby in 1973 and went on to win the Triple Crown that year. I’ve also included another of my dad’s carvings, a lovely little horse.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute Centerpiece

The table is set for a small party to watch the race on television. Sometimes simple works as well as elaborate tablescapes.

GotMyReservations Kentucky Derby Tribute

If you’ve never seen Secretariat’s run for the roses in 1973, watch this clip of the race.

I’m linking up today with the creative bloggers at History and Home Link Party at We Call It Junkin’Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern StyleTablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, and Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper. Be sure to stop by and say, “Hello!”

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15 thoughts on “Kentucky Derby Tribute Tablescape

  1. As soon as I saw the title of your post I had to read and see it. And you did not disappoint. The extra touches you added; the beautiful hat and those wooden spoons!

    Wow! Love it….

    • Thanks, Christine. It is a lot of fun to integrate my dad’s work into my tablescapes and I appreciate your kind words.

  2. Very pretty Jennie! Those napkins fabulous find, and incorporating the flowered hat into the centerpiece is not only genius but gorgeous too.

    • Candy, I went back and forth between doing a hard/soft thing for this ‘scape — think rusty metal — or just keeping it soft. It would have worked both ways, but I do love the mix of the white pitcher with the pear blossoms and the hat. Thanks for visiting!

  3. oh and I had a to change my domain name so your blog roll may need to be updated…ugghh the power of the internet, right? Sorry for the inconvenience if you have to change something!

  4. Going to the KY Derby is on my bucket list! Your table may be the next best thing! I love how you used a hat in the centerpiece!

    • Jewel, thanks for visiting. I hopped over to visit you and LOVED your British tablescape.

  5. You are all set, Miss Jennie!!! You’ll have to do the “Pretty Woman” thing and actually shout, “Woo! Woo!” while fist pumping!!! :-)

    I’m with you on the “gently loved” look for silver julep cups. I like them well enough when they’re all pretty, shiny and new, but when they look as though they’ve been used over decades or even centuries…that’s when I like them best!

    I had forgotten what pear branches in bloom look like! My Daddy always had pear trees (and apple, and peach, and plum, and apricot, and…!!!), but I just forgot how simply beautiful the branches can be. I do remember that the fragrance is great!

    Have a fun time watching the Derby this weekend. We’ll be at a funeral (Ramon’s young cousin was killed in a car accident), so we’ll have to miss the festivities this year. Have a julep for me!!!

    • Remember how out of place Julia Roberts’ character was at the polo match? I’ve always wanted to go to the Derby but I think I might have a similar fate. I’m not very genteel…

      Thanks for visiting, Alycia!

  6. You had me with the beautiful hat. But, to finish with the awesome race clip is just over the top! Your table is wonderful, and the carvings by your father are perfect for showing off with your theme. I love it all!

    • That hat does not fit — it was always a little too small, but I love it. It was nice to be able to use it in a tablescape since I couldn’t wear it for Derby day.

  7. Such a pretty tablescape. I love the hat and flowers for the centerpiece, but am very touched by your Dad’s wooden spoons and horse. What treasures to have in your possession and be able to use. Lovely…… Rosie

    • I have so many stories to tell in my house. Most of my house goods were inherited or gifted to me from relatives. I am surrounded by my father’s work and it reminds me of him daily. Thanks for visiting!

  8. Jennie, thank you so much for joining my flash link party and I hope to see you there every monday at 7 am when the party is at it’s regular time!

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