This blog post was written by Carol Bolton, an intern who worked in the Museum’s Collections Department this summer. She headed up the this year’s hat contest and wrote about her experience.
I’ve had so much fun working on the Derby Hat contest! I think it’s so cool that the Museum does the hat contest every year, and displays the winners, because it is such great way to share the fun of the Derby with our visitors. Hats seem to be a Derby tradition that everyone gets into, from the Infield to Millionaire’s Row, and everywhere in between. I think the hats selected for display this year really reflect the variety you’d see at Churchill Downs on Derby Day! We’ve got everything from a beautiful fascinator designed by Rachel Trevor Morgan, milliner to Queen Elizabeth II, to a 3D-printed sunhat, to a hat made of Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets! (A personal favorite!)
In May, when we were accepting entries for the contest, it was exciting to come to work each day to see what surprises would arrive. The creativity, artistry, and humor exhibited by our designers were astounding! My only regret is that we don’t have room to display more hats! Seventy hats were entered this year – our largest contest to date – but only twenty could be selected for display in the Museum. Our judges certainly had a challenge!
The winning hats and updated Derby fashion ensembles are now on display in the “It’s My Derby” exhibit of the Museum. Come check it out!
Below are the winning hats of the 2016 Hat Contest (arrow through, or click to open album in Flickr):