From fancy guitars to celebrity sightings, here’s what you might see during Derby weekend

It’s Kentucky Derby Week and we’ve now reached the point leading up to Saturday’s 148th running of the Kentucky Derby when the city seems to be literally buzzing with excitement.

There are fancy Derby hats for sale in the lobby of every hotel, out-of-town guests are roaming the streets of downtown and the Highlands neighborhood. This is when you may spy a famous film star sipping a coffee at your favorite cafe or tilting back a bourbon at your neighborhood watering hole.

Yep, it’s about to get crazy friends and we have a few more tidbits to add to your Derby weekend mix. 

NBC’s Dylan Dreyer will return to Churchill Downs

No matter what the weather brings, NBC News’ Dylan Dreyer will return to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. 

Dreyer, who has previously been part of NBC Sports’ Kentucky Derby and Royal Ascot horse racing coverage, will be joined by E!’s Zanna Roberts Rassi, who makes her NBC Sports horse racing debut. The two will dish on the fashions they see at the historic race track and of course, we’re hoping Dreyer will only have sunny skies to discuss in the weather department. 

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Also, be on the lookout for NBC Sports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood who will serve as lifestyle correspondents.

Richie Sambora to auction off autographed guitar

Since you need a ticket to the Barnstable Brown Derby Eve party to get a look at this one-of-a-kind guitar, we’ll show it to you here instead.

For the past few years, former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora has designed and autographed an Austrian Crystal Kantor guitar. He plays it on stage at the opulent outdoor party and passes it around to other famous musicians during the evening. When the music ends, the guitar is auctioned off to the highest bidder. 

The money raised from the guitar auction is donated to the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Research Center at the University of Kentucky. The center, which is located in Lexington, Kentuck,y is the beneficiary of the elegant (and often wild) evening which to date has contributed over $16 million to diabetes research and support. 

It’s back!: See the star-studded Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala celebrity list

 In 2019, the last time the party was held prior to the pandemic, Sambora’s unique guitar was auctioned off for $62,000. 

Additional celebrities added to Unbridled Eve Derby Gala

Apparently, they’ve made room to squeeze in a few more famous folks Friday night at the Galt House Hotel Grand Ballroom. The Unbridled Eve Derby Eve Gala has announced a new batch of celebrities who will make their way to Louisville in addition to an already star-studded celebrity guest list.

The last-minute party-goers are actor Dean Norris, film producer (and Holy Cross high school graduate) Joey McFarland, musician and reality star Peet Montzingo, world-famous whiskey critic Fred Minnick, actor David DeSanctis, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Dion Dawkins from the Buffalo Bills, Jonathon Abram of the Las Vegas Raiders and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., who will ride Tawny Port in the 148th Kentucky Derby.  

The guest list: Unbridled Eve Derby Gala announces its star-studded Kentucky Derby celebrity guest list

Also attending the party, The McFarland Family of Louisville who are Tik Tok, Instagram and YouTube famous, and Ethan Almighty, the Kentucky Humane Society rescue dog turned national celebrity spokespup.  

Find more information and ticket prices for The Unbridled Derby Eve Gala at 

Happy Derby, everyone! 

Reach Kirby Adams at or Twitter @kirbylouisville

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