(WVUE) - The grandstand at Churchill Downs is stately and genteel. Big hats and expensive dresses the norm. Across the track at the infield, not so much. Come as you are, no dress code required, all welcome.
"It's a little looser than it is on the other side. Everybody is having fun down here," said Louisville native Carl Bauer.
With 70,000 of your closest friends confined to the inside of a racing track, it feels like a Jazz Fest vibe with horses, but locals point to another legendary spot where anything goes.
"It's like Bourbon Street, but it's Louisville. It's a party, week-long party. When you're up there it's a little different, we've done both. This is the full experience, you see all walks of life," said Derby veteran Emily Hollar.
On Bourbon there's no bouncer in the streets, and all ages enjoy the revelry. The Derby infield welcomes infants to old-timers also, but it has become a young man's game.
"As we've gotten older, it's less the point. It's interesting to watch and not participate in the craziness. Because it can get crazy," said Hollar.
Yes the crazies are in the infield, and there are a lot of alcoholic beverages being consumed, but they actually do watch a little horse racing.
"Oh yeah, we watch the two minutes, and then we go back to having fun," said Bauer.
"It's a little bit of both. We bet each race. It is fun to people watch," said Hollar.