How to Celebrate {the Kentucky Derby} and {Cinco de Mayo} This Weekend

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Between the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo, there are lots of options for having fun this upcoming weekend. Whether you’re into big floppy hats, horses, and mint juleps or margaritas and tacos (or both!), here are some options for weekend’s holiday festivities:

How to celebrate the Kentucky Derby:

1. Derby Day at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment – Saturday, May 3rd

Some fabulously creative Derby hats at last year’s Derby Day!

This one’s not in Hoboken, but it’s pretty close. After all, where better to celebrate the Derby than a racetrack? The Meadowlands in East Rutherford is planning lots of fun events for the day-long celebration.

Esquire Network’s “Horseplayers” Peter Rotondo Sr., Peter Rotondo Jr. and Lee Davis will be spending the day as well as hosting a Derby Handicapping Seminar. There will be a Keep Calm & Derby on T-shirt giveaway T-shirt giveaway, $9 Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps with a commemorative Derby glass will be provided, and of course and annual Derby hat contest—-first place wins $500!

2. Make Homemade Mint Juleps in Mason Jars:

After all, what’s more southern than mason jars?

Mint juleps are delicious, and they’re also the (un)official drink of the Derby. Mason jars are adorable for drinks and will make you feel like a true southern belle–at least for the day. Learn how to make your own mint julep with this quick, simple tutorial.

3. Make Some Derby Recipes at Home: Whether you’re throwing a lavish Derby party or just enjoying the event from the privacy of your own couch, the fun is in the yummy Derby-themed dishes. You can impress your friends (or yourself) with these delish sweets.

Mint Julep Cupcakes

So adorable and absolutely scrumptious!

(Courtesy of The Baker Chick) Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure mint extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup of bourbon (or whiskey) (plus extra for tops of the cakes.)


  • 2 sticks of butter (softened)
  • 4-6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/4 cup of milk or cream
  • Mint leaves for garnishing


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F, line 24 cupcake tins with liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the milk and bourbon to the batter, and then the remaining flour (1 cup). Don’t over-mix!
  4. Divide batter equally amongst the 24 tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.
  5. Once cool, prick the tops of each cake with a fork and brush tops with bourbon.)

For Frosting:

  1. Whip the butter until creamy and pale. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until thick and paste-like. (You may not need all 6 cups.)
  2. Add the extract and bourbon and then the milk- 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is thick and creamy. Add additional powdered sugar or milk if the frosting is too wet or dry.
  3. Swirl or pipe frosting onto cupcakes and garnish with a mint leaf or straw. (Optional.)

Benedictine Sandwiches:

The mint-hued spread is a Derby essential!

(Courtesy of Paula Deen) Ingredients:

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 drop green food coloring
  • Thinly sliced white bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • Parsley or watercress, for garnish


  1. Peel cucumber and slice in half lengthwise; remove seeds with a small spoon.
  2. Place cucumber in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until cucumber is minced.
  3. Place cucumber into a small glass mixing bowl.
  4. Place onion in the food processor, pulsing until it is finely chopped.
  5. Add onion to cucumber.
  6. Add cream cheese and stir well with a spatula.
  7. Add salt, hot sauce, and food coloring.
  8. With a round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut rounds out of bread slices.
  9. Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on bread rounds.
  10. Spread cheese mixture on half the rounds and top with another round.
  11. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or watercress.

Yum! These two recipes will be sure to please.

HOWEVER, if margaritas and tacos are more your thing, here are a few places in Hoboken that will be fun and festive to engage in on May 5th–

Cinco de Mayo activities this weekend:

1. Charrito’s

Bring your own tequila and they’ll make margaritas right at your table!

Charrito’s was mentioned in last year’s Cinco de Mayo post, but seriously, what’s better than authentic margaritas and fresh guac made right at your table?

2. Cadillac Cantina

Cadillac Cantina’s yummy chicken & cheese fajita

Cadillac Cantina is a great happy hour bar by the PATH with great Mexican food–the fajitas are insane! They’re hosting a weekend-long Cinco de Mayo celebration. So if you’re a Cinco de Mayo party animal, this is the place for you. They also have a delish “skinny” margarita that is sure to please your taste buds AND your waistline.

Cadillac 6

Margs. Always delish. And mason jars to boot!

3. Black Bear Bar & Grill

Black Bear’s Cinco de Mayo specials

If a regular bar scene is more your thing, Black Bear has awesome Cinco de Mayo deals. Hellooo, $1 tacos?!

4. Little Town NJ

What could be more awesome than DIY guac?

Little Town NJ is hosting a guacamole making party led by Chef Jordan Andino. A fun, crafty Cinco de Mayo event that will even be great for a date! And you’ll also get to know the perfect recipe for making yummy guac in the privacy of your own home!


Whether this weekend you’ll be celebrating the Derby, Cinco de Mayo, or attending the Hoboken Arts & Music festival, you’ll be sure to have something fun to do.

How will you be celebrating the “holidays”?

Written by:

Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of With deep entrepreneurial roots in Hudson County — as her grandparents owned textile businesses on Tonnelle Ave in North Bergen dating back to the 50s — she started the site as a Hoboken resident to discover the amazing things happening in the area. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her two pups, or watching Bravo TV and ordering takeout with her husband.