The first weekend in May is one of my favorites. The Kentucky Derby is special whether you attend or watch it on television. Preceding the Derby will be the May Day Festival Friday night at the Corbin Arena.
Last year I was honored to be the Master of Ceremonies for the 75th annual May Day Festival. I had never attended the event since it was moved to the Arena. What a difference it made. There is plenty of room there and the comfort level is excellent.
I remember the days when our daughters were in the Festival at both the Edwards Gym and later at the Gilliams Gym. Because of the big crowds attending, the gyms were always packed. The last one I had attended was at the Gilliams Gym. We sat in the balcony. It was hot and crowded.
I’m looking forward to this one Friday night because my granddaughter, Polly Adams, is in the tiny queen’s court.
As I have written previously, I was in the May Day Fstival 74 years ago when I was in the first grade and I still have the outfit my mother sewed on her peddle Singer sewing machine.
The Ossoli Club is to be commended for keeping this event going for the 76 years. They are also to be commended for the contributions they make to worthwhile programs in our community with the money they raise from this event.
•The Kentucky Derby is special. It is different from any other event. It is the day us Kentuckians feel a special pride.
My enjoyment of this special day reached a peak a few years ago when Terry Forcht invited me and my wife to attend our first Derby in the Forcht Group suite. His generosity has been extended to many others also.
There are many stories to tell but this one tops the list. At one time the Forcht Group suite was next door to Michael Jordan’s suite.
I’m standing in the hall when two men, one that seemed to be about ten feet tall dressed in a seersucker suit, and the other a short stocky fellow walked by and stood at Jordan’s door. They were his body guards and nobody entered that suite without permission. They did let some young people in to get autographs.
There are so many celebrities there. When that 50 to 1 shot horse won I was standing next to a guy in a trench coat with his hat pulled down low. When I finally got a good look at him it was Brent Musburger, the famed sports announcer.
You can enjoy spending the day star gazing but when it is time for My Old Kentucky Home to be sung and the thousands of people are singing then chills run all over you. I get that same feeling when I view the Derby on television.
It has been said by many that every Kentuckian should attend the Derby at least one time. I know that isn’t possible and I’m indebted to Terry for making it possible for me.
After three years of rain let’s hope that the sun is out and this year’s Derby is a pleasant one for all.
Regardless of how you plan to spend the day us Kentuckians will always take time to watch the Derby.