As the end of March approaches, the winds begin to change in The Ville. Derby is coming and the energy of that shift in season is electrifying…unless it isn’t.

I am one of those people who live and breathe all things Kentucky Derby Festival for the full month of April and the first few days of May. I go to all the things, collect the pins, and fully submerge in the festivities. Even as an introvert, it’s worth the energy exhaustion to be in the thick of it for this blitz of Bluegrass brilliancy.

BUT…

There are some Louisvillians who are just not on board with Derby Season, and as scandalous as it may sound to people like me who go all in, that is okay.

It occurred to me recently that Derby may be too much for some of our family, friends, and neighbors, so we shouldn’t pressure them or make them feel like bad citizens for not diving in. I’ve been guilty of this, so to everyone I’ve tried to talk into loving everything that goes along with the countdown to the fastest two minutes in sports…I am sorry.

If you have sensory challenges and being in loud places with too many people is stressful, most of what goes along during our multi-week festival isn’t for you. If you have super restrictive dietary needs, it would be near impossible to eat at the Chow Wagon. If you just prefer to be at home in your spare time instead of fighting for parking and hauling pop-up chairs around the city, I totally support your abstention. If you love your city, but do not love how much longer it takes to do normal things because of road closures and increased traffic, I am with you. And even though those things aren’t enough to keep me away, it’s completely fine that you don’t want to mess with it.

So, stay away from the hoopla and enjoy whatever you choose to do in lieu. I only ask one thing…

Sometime between now and the first Saturday in May, find a way to celebrate our grand city and state. Drink an Ale-8, toast with a bourbon or Kentucky Proud beer, make a benedictine sandwich or some soup beans and have your own private party bite by bite. Sit on the porch at sunset and hum My Old Kentucky Home, just once, because even if you never go to a single related event, this season is still for you. You are part of what makes Kentucky and the city of Louisville great for the other eleven months of the year when no one is watching. So, own your part of the greatness.

Cheers to us!

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