Duncan Manor

Derby Days ar this weekend at Duncan Manor in Towanda

For horse-racing fans, social butterflies or even owners of big hats that never get to wear them in public, the Kentucky Derby can satisfy several interests.

Also known as the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports," the race is a Grade One stakes race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds running 1 1/4 miles, located at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. 

“The way people come together and celebrate is so exciting,” said senior family and consumer sciences education major Aleisha Hansen.

“I honestly believe the horses know they’re on display and compete that much harder with a large crowd cheering for them.”

Hansen, experienced in competition with her horses and personally following major events, said looking at each horse, the immense power behind them and seeing the journey of how each got there is amazing in and of itself.

“It is the ultimate culmination in the horse racing world as the beginning of the Triple Crown,” she said.

For some, the Kentucky Derby is held as high as the Super Bowl and celebrated similarly in some regards, as the festivities are held all day.

A common way to celebrate is with garden parties, often consisting of dressing up, playing party games and enjoying Kentucky-inspired food and drinks, including mint juleps or bourbon.

Derby party games include croquet, horseshoes and, of course, riding horses.

For anyone looking to attend a garden-style party and vendor open house may be interested in Derby Days at Duncan Manor in Towanda.

Owner David Howell has high hopes for the open-house fundraiser, as this is the first derby-style event held at Duncan Manor. Silent auction baskets, donated by local vendors, will all be named after horses competing in the derby.

Proceeds will go towards their not-for-profit organization, as the manor was set up as a dedication to historic preservation through community involvement this year.

Live music by local musicians will also accompany a cash bar, handmade and vintage goods for sale and lawn games like horseshoes and bags. Participants can even bust out their favorite hats for a contest.

The fundraiser is set for 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Children 10 and under can attend for free. The manor is located at 1002 Towanda Barnes Road.

Duncan Manor was built in 1866 and is a hotspot for history geeks and fans on urban legends, once believed to be part of the underground railroad. The stories have been debunked, however, but the house still holds much history.

GARRETT KARSTEN is a news reporter reporter for The Vidette. He can be reached at gtkarst@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @GKarstenISU


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