Hold Your Horses for Derby Days 51

The fifth-annual Boulder Lifestyle Derby Days returns this May.

Much like our Publisher likes to throw a good party, we’ll take any excuse to pull together a styled shoot. In anticipation of the upcoming fifth-annual Boulder Lifestyle Derby Days, we got to do just that. Insert design and style dream team from La Dolce Events, Todd Reed and two of our favorite local boutiques, Willow and Eleanor and Hobbs (plus many more creative contributors), and you get a modern chic Colorado Derby captured by the talented Ashleigh Cropper of Red Aspen Photography. We’ll leave the rustic theme to our Kentucky friends down South.

So how do you create an edgy derby? We combined bourbon-toned neutrals and darker, moody pieces with tailored custom hats from Royal Stag. If it happens to be the one time of year you want to break out classic seersucker, we showed the print a nod with a slit blue seersucker-inspired pant and a subtle striped button up. Now, let’s talk florals. It’s not a Derby party without flowers. Fiori Flowers inspires us to never use fake plastic flowers as hat decor ever again. There’s not a better way to celebrate spring with fresh florals and a classic mint julep.

A hugely talented group of vendors, beautiful weather and location and two very cooperative horses named Lirico PT and Piernass de Listo helped create one of our favorite shoots to date.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved finding an excuse to get all my friends together for a good party. While this may have contributed to my undergraduate tenure lasting six years, the pro’s certainly have outweighed the cons.”

Fresh after moving my family to Boulder in late 2012, I was looking for different ways to embed myself in the community. After launching Boulder Lifestyle Magazine in early 2013, we concluded that our new publication needed a signature event to help put us on the map. We also felt an obligation to use our media presence to support local non-profits.

In May 2013, we held the first “Derby Days” event at the Goldbranch Estates development in Niwot. Leah Colby, president of La Dolce Events, and her team worked tirelessly to put all the logistics in place. To our surprise and delight, the event sold out. Realizing that this was event was going to grow, we moved the location to downtown Boulder in 2014. If you’ve ever driven down historic Mapleton Avenue, you are familiar with the “wedding cake house,” owned by Rudy and Kathi Harburg. For over forty years, the Harburg’s have been a pillar of generosity in the Boulder community, and graciously let us throw a 300-person party on their lawn for two years in a row.

In watching the weather forecast before “Derby Days” 2016, we saw that heavy rains were predicted for the day of our event. Fortunately, our friends at The Rembrandt Yard helped us pull a last-minute audible to move the party indoors. In this case, the weather reporters were correct, and the heaven’s opened up for a downpour that lasted most of the day. In spite of the foul weather outside, spirits were certainly not dampened inside. Nearly 400 guests sold out the gallery, mint juleps in hand.

To accommodate even more growth, we are excited to announce that the 2017 event will be held on Saturday, May 6th, on the lawn of the Historic Highland Building and City Club in the heart of downtown Boulder. In the last four years, guests of “Derby Days” have contributed over $40,000 to support TRU Care Hospice, Attention Homes, and There With Care. We also can’t thank our sponsors enough for their support.

Whether you come to support the cause, live music, hand-rolled cigars, mint juleps, or just as an excuse to trade your Patagonia attire for pastels for a day, we truly look forward to seeing you on May 7th for “Derby Days” five-year anniversary party!”

For tickets please visit, BoulderLifestylePubs.com.

Creatives & Contributors

Photographer: Ashleigh Cropper | Red Aspen Photography

Planner & Stylist: Leah Colby | La Dolce Events

Venue: Ashlawn Estate

Floral Designer: Lara DeBroux | Fiori Flowers

Cocktails: Arcana

Bartender: Gabriel Oliver-Kose

Women’s Clothing: Willow, Eleanor & Hobbs

Men’s Attire: Eleanor & Hobbs

Models: Candace Alai, Cat and Paul Diehl

Horses: Lirico PT, owned by Pat and Kelsey O’Neill and Piernas de Listo, owned by Shelly Smagac

Jewelry: Todd Reed

Hats: Royal Stag Hats

Make-up Artist: Bre Ortola Morris |  Alchemy Face Bar

Hairstylist: Kate Manz

Stationary: Black Dog Press

Car: Audi Boulder

Mint Julep

courtesy of Arcana



    • 1 scant ounce minted simple syrup
    • 2 cups crushed ice
    • 2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
    • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish



To highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.