~ Click on collage to enlarge ~
This Derby Eve I braved the crowds at our local Kroger's supermarket in Middletown to get these photos of the florists crafting the spectacular Garland of Roses which will be placed on the thoroughbred winner of the 139th Kentucky Derby. It's a tradition for a local Kroger's to craft the garland and people are invited to come and watch. After the garland is complete it is displayed at the store, along with the Official Kentucky Derby Trophy, until early Saturday morning when it goes to Churchill Downs, ready for the Winner's Circle Ceremonies.
The Garland of Roses is crafted according to tradition from about 400 Freedom Roses (named in honor of those who perished on 9.11). Each rose is placed in its own water vial and then handsewn into a bed of greenery. The garland crown includes a special rose for every horse in the Derby. Here are a few other photos from tonight:
Display of the Garland and Winner's Trophy
Closeup of garland greenery and roses
Roses ready for water vials
Jockey silks banners throughout the store
Tired florists working since 4p - notice the bracelet
Garland Crown with rose for each horse racing
And finally, Derby Pie from Kern's Bakery! Fudgey chocolate and nuts, oh my!
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this little behind the scenes account of one great Derby tradition. When you see the Galrland of Roses tomorrow in the Winner's Circle you can tell your friends you know how this beauty was made!