Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase is back for its 80th competition on Saturday, June 26th at Percy Warner Park. The 2020 race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this race is returning to an outpouring of fanfare and excitement.
As always, JP Events is embracing the celebratory spirit. We want to help you craft the best Steeplechase tailgate party in Nashville, so we’re laying out five surefire ways to kick your Steeplechase festivities up a notch. Whether you’ve been planning your horse race-themed celebration for weeks or you want to throw one together last minute, we’re outlining unique, easy-to-implement ideas to help you make it happen.
- Craft your cocktail menu
Classic cocktails are considered classic for a reason: They’re crowd-pleasers. But you can set your party apart by serving staple drinks with a twist!
- Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita — Designed for folks who prefer clear liquor but want to indulge in a Southern classic, the Mint Julep.
- Muddle blackberries and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker.
- Add in 2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of lime juice, 1 ounce of honey syrup, shake and pour over ice.
- Garnish with a blackberry and mint sprig.
*Pro tip: Take this drink to the next level by serving over crushed ice.
- Frozen Whiskey Smash — Designed for anyone who is craving whiskey during the hot summer months.
- Combine 8 ¾ ounces of a Tennessee-made straight bourbon like Belle Meade Bourbon or Uncle Nearest, 9 ounces of simple syrup, 7 ¼ ounces mint simple syrup, 6 ounces of lemon juice, 6 ¾ ounces of lime juice, and 2 ¾ ounces of water in a freezer bag.
- Place in the freezer for 4 hours, break up the contents of the bag with your hands, and then pour into a rocks glass.
- Garnish with mint leaves and a lemon wheel.
*Pro tip: This recipe serves 4 people but is perfect for multiplying to batch for large groups. Consider serving it in a pitcher that can be passed around the party!
- Serve an all-day sweet treat
And we have just the idea…
- Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs — A JP Events original by our Executive Pastry Chef Lexi Francisco! Simple, sweet and hassle-free to prepare.
- Layer mini pound cake bites and sliced strawberries onto kabob skewers.
- Dress the assembled skewers by drizzling Greek Honey Vanilla Yogurt over the top. (You can also use Silk’s dairy-free yogurt!)
*Pro tip: Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Choose recipes that are easy to prep so that you, the host, aren’t stuck assembling while the races are unfolding.
- Southern-style competition
It wouldn’t be a horse race if the spectators didn’t dress to impress. Why not add a little friendly competition into the mix?
Put out a bowl and label it “Best Dressed.” Leave little sheets of paper and pens nearby so your guests can anonymously write down the person who they believe is the best dressed. Tally the votes during the second half of the party and crown your King or Queen of Southern Style!
- Don’t forget the florals!
When it comes to creating an enviable table and tailgate display, flowers are a Steeplechase necessity.
Given that it’s now officially summer, we’re loving gerbera daisies, peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs, freesias and even orchids. You can source some stunning arrangements from a local florist, or hit up the flower section at Trader Joe’s, where small bouquets start at $3.99 (peonies were $8.99 last week!). When it comes to vases, you can keep things classy and consistent, or you can mix it up, using different sizes, materials, colors and containers. (We got some beautiful, classic small vases recently – perfect for a small tailgate table – at COLOR in Green Hills.) Then, at the end of a truly fabulous day, you can send arrangements home with your friends and guests and ensure everyone leaves extra happy.
- Set up a kid-friendly horse painting corner.
At this year’s race, the Iroquois Steeplechase is auctioning off donated Topper Williams paintings as a charitable donation. Join in the spirit of creativity and set the kiddos at your gathering up with paint sets. They can create their very own Steeplechase-inspired artwork while the adults are enjoying the grown-up activities (see drink recipes above).
Your Steeplechase party can have something for everyone. Use this guide to deliver a festive celebration of this iconic Nashville tradition! And if this is your first year hosting, it just may turn into an annual event your friends and family look forward to for years to come.
At JP Events, we specialize in events of all sizes and for all occasions. If you’re ever in need of a Nashville event planner who puts customer service above all else, we are the place to call, ya’ll.
About JP Events
“Since 2008, JP Events has served Nashville and the surrounding metro county areas as the premier all-inclusive event planning and production company providing full-service catering, cake & pastry design, floral design & arrangements, event planning & coordination, event rentals, bar & beverage services, and more. Whether it’s a wedding, corporate event, or special occasion, we curate every detail to perfection to ensure a seamless, effortless experience that leaves every client, and their guests, smiling.”