It’s back! The star-studded 2022 Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala roars back to life the night before the Kentucky Derby with a megawatt celebrity guest list packed with jet-setting A-listers including movie icons, professional athletes, TV personalities, prominent business people, and the most eclectic mix of musicians on the planet.
“It’s fresh, it’s exciting, it’s everything I hoped it would be,” Patricia Barnstable-Brown told The Courier Journal of the triumphant return of her glamorous party.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the grande dame of the Kentucky Derby season is proving she hasn’t missed a beat. On Friday evening, Barnstable-Brown will throw open the doors to her opulent hillside mansion in Louisville and welcome pop icon Janet Jackson, movie star Orlando Bloom and country music royalty Jason Aldean and Darius Rucker. Baltimore Ravens quarterback and former University of Louisville Cardinal Lamar Jackson will be there along with “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley and film actor Stephen Dorff.
We don’t mean to drop names, but we’re just getting started.
Counted among the “Ten Best Parties in the World” by Condé Nast, Barnstable-Brown’s gala is internationally known as the “place to party” on Derby Eve. Co-hosted by her son Christopher Barnstable-Brown and her twin sister Priscilla “Cyb” Barnstable, the party team has announced its sensational celebrity lineup for the annual gala which is held at Barnstable- Brown’s private home in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville.
“Can you believe we have all six members of New Edition coming to my house,” Barnstable-Brown said. “We have completely sold out, there isn’t room for one more party guest.”
Several hundred people lucky enough to snag a ticket to the invitation-only event will join superstars, Jackson, Bloom, Aldean, Rucker, Hartley, Dorff and New Edition members Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ralph Tresvant.
About 8:30 p.m., a host of stretch limousines and shiny black SUVs will begin to pull up to the ornate iron gates at 1700 Spring Dr. Lining the street, a sea of anxious onlookers may catch a glimpse of more of Barnstable-Brown’s celebrity friends including country musicians Sam Hunt, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Chase Rice, and Morgan Wallen.
Actor Blair Underwood will be returning for the party and races on Kentucky Derby weekend. So will singer Taylor Dayne, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Larry Birkhead, and daughter Dannielynn Birkhead, and crowd favorite Joey Fatone, who tries to never miss Kentucky Derby weekend in Louisville.
“The one time I missed the trip in 18 years, I swore that would never happen again,” said the former member of *NSYNC. “I don’t let anything get in the way of getting to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.”
What party-goers and onlookers sometimes forget is the focus of this opulent Kentucky Derby Eve spectacle — it’s a charity event. As of 2019, the Barnstable Brown Gala has donated $16.7 million to combat diabetes at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center at the University of Kentucky. For party guests like Fatone, the Derby Eve party and its charitable cause go hand-in-hand. In 2021, he was asked to appear on “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” and the money he raised was donated to the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.
“We love that our guests ask to come back year after year. No one wants to throw a party that people don’t want to come back to,” Barnstable-Brown said. “The fact that our (party) is now in its 33rd year and our guests won’t miss it is the highest compliment.”
While a few are returning guests, most of the celebrities on Barnstable-Brown’s 2022 list are new and may want to be ready for what comes after they exit the limousine.
After an eruption of excitement from the crowd, celebrities are whisked to a tented step-and-repeat where a crush of local, national and international media wait with cameras and questions. New guests like singer and Kentucky native William F. Jordan Jr., TV court judge Greg Mathis, actors Sofia Pernas, Scott Haze, Duke Nicholson and Joseph David Jones will need to be ready to answer questions about whether they’ve sipped a mint julep before and their picks for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby winner.
Happy screams from the streetside crowd will erupt again as more celebrities emerge from the media tent including Michael Jackson’s former guitarist Orianthi Panagaris, supermodel Courtney Sixx, the wife of Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, and reigning Miss USA 2021 and former Louisville resident Elle Smith.
Each celebrity, whether they are wearing stilettos or sneakers, is a legend in the business or a newbie, walks the curving driveway, past thousands of twinkling white lights strung from the trees as they make their way to Barnstable-Brown’s front door.
This is the same driveway hundreds of celebrities and guests have walked since 1989. Barnstable-Brown’s first party, 33 years ago, turned out to be unlike anything Louisville had seen before and has exploded in popularity since.
Her guests the first year included legendary actor Lloyd Bridges, Patrick Duffy from “Dallas,” Dick Van Patten, Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis, Racecar driver Danny Sullivan and “Designing Women” star Dixie Carter, her husband actor Hal Holbrook and more.
“That party put us on the map,” Barnstable-Brown remembers fondly. “I wasn’t sure anyone would come that first year but they did and look what we’ve become. It just took off. As for this year, I am so excited we are able to have a party again. We’ve worked hard and I know Friday will be another unforgettable night my guests will never forget.”
Reach Kirby Adams at email@example.com or Twitter @kirbylouisville.
2022 Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve Gala Celebrity Guestlist
Janet Jackson — Grammy Award winner and pop music icon
Jason Aldean — Grammy-nominated country music artist
Orlando Bloom — film actor, known for “Lord of the Rings,” “Pirates of the Caribean”
Justin Hartley — actor best known for NBC’s “This Is Us”
Darius Rucker — Grammy Award-winning country music artist
New Edition – Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ralph Tresvant
Lamar Jackson — Baltimore Ravens quarterback and former University of Louisville Cardinal who won the Heisman Trophy in 2016.
Sam Hunt — country music artist known for “Leave the Night On”
Stephen Dorff — actor, known for “The Power of One,” “True Detective”
Richie Sambora — guitarist, singer, songwriter, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi
Blair Underwood — actor best known for “Deep Impact,” “L.A. Law”
Morgan Wallen — Country Music Award winner
Tanya Tucker — Grammy Award-winning country music artist
Joey Fatone — former member *NSYNC
Travis Tritt — Country music artist
Taylor Dayne — American singer-songwriter
Orianthi Panagaris — guitarist, known for playing with Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson
Courtney Sixx — fashion model, married to Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe
Sofia Pernas — actress best known for “Jane the Virgin,” married to Justin Hartley
Chase Rice — country music singer, songwriter, and reality television personality
Elle Smith — Miss USA 2021
Judge Greg Mathis — Daytime Emmy Award-winning TV courtroom judge
Larry Birkhead — photographer
Dannielynn Birkhead — daughter of Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead
Scott Haze — actor and filmmaker best known for “Child of God,” “Jurassic World Dominion”
Joseph David Jones — actor, known for his roles in the TV dramas “Nashville” and “Arrow”
Duke Nicholson — actor best known for “US” and Jack Nicholson’s grandson
William F. Jordan Jr. — R&B performer and Kentucky native
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