Downtown Derby plans released

Posted April 18, 2024 at 8:21 am

A fun summer is right around the corner for those in Albany and Clinton County and several groups in the community are dedicated to making that happen.
“Downtown Derby” will see it’s inaugural run  Saturday, May 4, with a host of activities for all ages, coinciding with the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby that same Saturday.
The groups working to bring the new event to Albany include the Clinton County Community Foundation, the Clinton County PTA, Albany Masonic Lodge, Clinton County Extension Office, and the Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.
“The Foothills Committee has been awesome to allow us to use their space on the square,” PTA President Sarah Browning said. “They are willing to help out in any way.”
Browning said they want this event to grow each year and potentially work its way up to being a Foothills Festival type event for the spring time in order to kick off the summer months.
“This is the first year and we will get to see it as a concept and hopefully this will be the spring kick off for summer,” Browning said. “We have the Foothills Festival in the fall, so how great would it be to have this grow every year to even be, in the future, a two-day event for people to look forward to as much. We hope to bring in people off the lake and the derby is a Kentucky tradition, so why not celebrate it.”
The schedule for the event will take place on the first Saturday in May, the same day the Kentucky Derby is held, and most of the traditions that come with the derby will be celebrated in Albany.
The idea stemmed from the “Running of the Onions” which was written, produced and narrated by the late Eddie Paul Coop. The audio can be found on Randy Speck’s youtube channel.
The day will start with a car show at 11 a.m. presented by the Albany Masonic Lodge #206 around the courthouse square.
The Chow Wagon and Merch will be the food and merchandise vendors opening with a time of 11 a.m. and will be on West Cumberland Street.
At noon, the Derby Pie Contest  will begin to be judged with entries accepted 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
There will also be a contest for Best Dressed and Best Hat, which is a theme at the Kentucky Derby every year.
There will be men’s and women’s divisions of best hat, most creative hat and best dressed. There will also be a kid’s best hat winner.
At 1 p.m., the stick horse races will begin with the “Preakness” for ages 2-17, the Belmont Stakes for ages 18 and older, and finally the “Running of the Onions” as the legacy race of the afternoon.
“We are asking for family members of those original riders to step in and ride a stick horse for that race,” Browning said.
Vice President of the Clinton County Community Foundation Jessica Owens Sullivan said there is something for everyone on May 4.
“On Friday we are going to ask businesses and student groups, sports groups, church groups … to dress up in their pink to support breast and ovarian cancer awareness like they do at the Oaks at Churchill Downs and then post those photos on our Facebook page,” Sullivan said.
The events will be streaming throughout the day.
“It promotes our commerce on the square and gets people out and about,” Browning said. “It’s a great way to kick off summer.”
Also in the lineup of events for the day will be Kelly Latham singing the National Anthem and a group of children will be performing “My Old Kentucky Home.”
“We just want to emulate that same feel in a downtown way,” Browning said.
“We want to do the traditional of Kentucky with the pride of Clinton County,” Sullivan said. “It should be well attended if the weather holds out.”
Browning said they don’t have a rain date in case of bad weather, but the event coordinators are working on getting that scheduled.