The Kentucky Derby, replete with history, tradition and pageantry, may be the classiest of parties for a sporting event. But make no mistake, the infield at Churchill Downs on race days is one giant tailgate. Whether you’re watching from the track, or your living room, it’s best to come prepared.

While it may seem like a horse of a different color, tailgating is tailgating is tailgating. So if you’ve partied at a football game, or some other event, you’re already halfway to the finish line. Here’s what you need to blow out your Kentucky Derby tailgate:

Photo Credit: Eclipse Press

Photo Credit: Eclipse Press

How to Throw a Great Derby Party ($14.95)

As tailgating veterans, we may still not know everything about tailgating. (Give us time.) The Kentucky Derby is a unique event. This book is for those who are more at home with pigskins than horses. Looking through these pages will not only provide recipes and hosting tips, but let you look and act the part when the big day comes. There’s also Derby trivia and history notes to show off to your friends. The Kentucky Derby is a unique party. Make it a unique tailgating experience as well.

Buy How to Throw a Great Derby Party.

Photo Credit: Caufield's Novelty

Photo Credit: Caufield’s Novelty

Kentucky Derby 139th Party Pack ($25.99)

This party pack takes care of the basics — plates, napkins, cups — so we can move on to the actual party. And it’s all emblazoned with with the official 139th Kentucky Derby logo. Pick up a few for those bigger tailgates.

Buy the Kentucky Derby Party Pack.

Photo Credit: Caufield's Novelty

Photo Credit: Caufield’s Novelty

2013 Kentucky Derby 139 Mint Julep Glass ($4.79)

Making a mint julep (or four 0r 40) is a must. It’s the unofficial official beverage of the Kentucky Derby. But serving them in paper cups could earn you a few scoffs from the cultured masses. And serving them in silver or pewter cups, as is southern tradition, isn’t really practical. So go with these classic (and classy) glass tumblers, commemorating the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Besides being collectable, they also hold plenty of good tasting drink. Perfect for tailgating at home. (Note: those of you heading to Churchill Downs will want to avoid glass at your tailgate.)

Buy the Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass.

Photo Credit: Belkin

Photo Credit: Belkin

Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Theater ($249)

An iPad’s screen makes a good TV substitute. But the Handheld Theater lets you take the theater-watching experience with you anywhere. Hold it in your hand or stand it up. The built-in stereo speakers can blast out loud enough to be heard above the crowd (ported air channels means bass doesn’t get left out either). The free app integrates with the digital signal processing to to create sound-fields perfectly suited for music or movies or gaming or sporting events. And the battery power lasts for hours.

Buy the Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Theater.

Photo Credit: Mophie

Photo Credit: Mophie

Mophie Juice Pack Air Rechargeable Battery Case ($100)

Your iPhone 5’s already getting a workout — sending texts, making and taking calls, playing music and shooting pics. Don’t worry about running out of juice. This battery pack from Mophie adds hours of battery life with just the press of a button. LEDs on the back indicate charging status and battery level. And the juice pack doubles as a shock-proof case.

Buy the Juice Pack Battery Case.

Happy tailgating!

Get all your team gear for the big game.

Find more cool gear for your next tailgate.

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology, gadget and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast.


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