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State Capitol

Derby Breakfast Sees Major Cutbacks

Rising costs have put the kibosh on the annual, state-funded Governor's Derby Breakfast at the State Capitol. Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeigh says it's now more of a festival, and the location has changed.
In 1936, Gov. Happy Chandler invited a few friends over to the governor's mansion for Derby day breakfast. Over the years, the event got bigger and bigger, and so did the budget. But in these tight economic times, the state can no longer afford to feed 15-thousand people free country ham, eggs and grits. So, for its 75th anniversary, the breakfast is moving to downtown Frankfort, which now has 17 restaurants.

"We've got everything from breakfast pizza, to wonderful pastries, to sausage biscuits, to the full champagne breakfast," event coordinator Bob Stewart told Kentucky Public Radio.

Stewart says there also will be plenty to see and do, including two stages of musical entertainment, arts and crafts, children's activities, a farmer's market. It's about more than just breakfast, says Stewart. It's the 75th Governor's Derby Celebration.

"This Derby Celebration is going to be like a summer concert on steroids - because we have lots of wonderful music," said Stewart. "Jim Beam is the sponsor of that, thanks to Downtown Frankfort that secured the sponsorship. But on top of that, we're going to have so many other amenities and attractions and children's activities.


Stewart says the state can no longer afford the extravagance of the traditional Derby Breakfast.

"In today's day and age with the fiscal realities that we have, I just don't think taxpayers in Kentucky can, or should, sustain that kind of expense anymore - as wonderful as it was it was in days past when we were a little more flush."

Stewart says Gov. and Mrs. Beshear will drop by the downtown festival before departing to Louisville for the 137th Run for the Roses.

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