Here and There: Derby Day and the Mad Hatters

Lindahat_sIt’s Derby Day today and that means hats!

©Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Hats matter, always for some of us, and today and tomorrow—along with mint juleps, thoroughbred horses and other grand Southern traditions—at this year’s Kentucky Derby.  Having just returned from South Carolina and the Southern Sampler Artists Colony where we were celebrating and memorializing Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI) co-founder (along with Dr. Karen Chandler), Jack McCray, with a multi-venue, week-long ritual play entitled Under Jack’s Hat—created, directed and produced by Charleston Black Theatre Artistic Director, Ty Collins, and Executive Producer, Yvvonne Broaddus—I’m especially excited about this years amazing millinery display.

Not that there aren’t plenty of other markedly Southern sights to take in at the Kentucky Derby, now in its 139th year. Let me list my top five things to look for at the Derby and in the South:

  • Hats
  • Seersucker suits
  • Three-year-old thoroughbreds
  • Mint juleps in ice-frosted silver julep cups
  • Burgo (though I’m a actually a big fan of Frogmore Stew)
  • Roses

—most of which we also see plenty of in Charleston and the adjacent islands.

And the SSAC certainly has its own hat moments:


PS: If you are in need of a new chapeau, check out Magar Hatworks on Cannon Street in Charleston.





3 Responses to “Here and There: Derby Day and the Mad Hatters”

  1. Ty Collins says:

    Who is that masked man?
    “Merlot” at Middleton Place!

  2. I love Merlot … the wine and the character. Thanks for all, Ty!

  3. Karen Chandler says:

    Love the hats…especially our “Jack’s Hats,” thanks to you, Ty! What a special time we all had. Thanks for these fab memories, Linda!

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