These Kentucky Derby Hats Will Blow You Away
AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Kentucky Derby Hats Through The Years

Hats full of roses and horses
These Kentucky Derby Hats Will Blow You Away
AFP/AFP via Getty Images

The twin spires, mint juleps and “My Old Kentucky Home” are iconic traditions of the Kentucky Derby. Every year, people head to Churchill Downs or gather around TV screens to witness America’s greatest race — but it wouldn’t be a true celebration without the infamous, wacky Kentucky Derby hats. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some of the biggest and best through the years.

1997

1997
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Colonel Charles Matasich and George Holter pose for pictures while waiting for the first race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the most pet-friendly cities in America.

2003

2003
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This might set the record for one of the biggest Derby hats. Tony Offutt walks through the infield with a hat he made for a hat contest prior to the 129th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2003

2003
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Eric Williams wears a hat full of roses at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby.

2004

2004
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Emily Smith wears a homemade hat as she watches races at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Decorating your own Derby hat is a fun new skill you can learn at home.

2005

2005
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The classic mint julep cocktail glass sits atop a Derby hat worn by a race fan during the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2005

2005
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A fan of the Kentucky Derby mingles in the paddock area before the 131st Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. While many Kentucky residents cheer on the state’s favorite baseball team, the Derby unites fans like nothing else.

2005

2005
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Hats of all shapes and sizes are on display on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2006

2006
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Karen Kyler, Jenny Wolridge and Deanna Miller pose for a photo with the spires in the background during the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. While Churchill Downs is a Kentucky icon, it’s not the state’s most popular tourist attraction.

2006

2006
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Race fan Ron Kelly stands in the infield with his Derby hat during the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Derby fans take the race as seriously as football fans take rooting for their favorite NFL teams.

2006

2006
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A race fan wears his Derby hat in the paddock during the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2006

2006
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Race fans with Derby hats pose during the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2006

2006
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Ernie Trent wears his Derby hat as he attends his 40th consecutive Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2007

2007
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A Derby fan is seen in the paddock area wearing a hat in the shape of the famous spires during the 133rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Do you recognize these other iconic American landmarks?

2007

2007
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Horse racing fans show off their hats as they watch races at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, for the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Hats are a fun and practical way to stay cool on race day, along with drinking plenty of water.

2007

2007
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A fan named Eric sports a horsey hat during the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2007

2007
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A race fan named Ginny wears a $4,000 hat during the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. That’s enough to afford a meal at some of the most expensive restaurants on Earth.

2008

2008
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A race fan stands in the paddock area while wearing her fashionable hat during the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2008

2008
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A fan stands in the paddock area with her hat full of beautiful flowers and a horse during the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2009

2009
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A race fan with a mint julep in his hand and a hat shaped like one during the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Lily is also a classic Kentucky Derby cocktail that people have been searching for during coronavirus quarantine.

2009

2009
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A fan's hat near the red carpet at the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2010

2010
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Beatrice Sanders shows off her hat during the 136th Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky.

2011

2011
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Eric Williams poses with his fashionable Kentucky Derby hat at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2011

2011
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Colonel Charles Matasich looks on during the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. For many, watching the Kentucky Derby live is something every American should do in their lifetime.

2011

2011
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A Derby hat is seen at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on the afternoon of the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

2012

2012
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Race fans wear decorated hats during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2014

2014
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A race fan wearing a festive hat looks on from the infield prior to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Enjoy a glass of bourbon, Kentucky’s most iconic food, while watching the race this year.

2014

2014
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A fan wears a colorful hat full of feathers and more at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is also tradition to enjoy a slice of Derby pie, Kentucky’s most iconic pie, while cheering for your favorite horse.

2014

2014
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Skip Koepnick wears a decorative hat prior to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2014

2014
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A race fan wears a stylish giant rose hat to commemorate the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

2015

2015
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A fan wears a festive hat during the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Aside from wearing fancy hats, other must-haves for your Derby-watching party are tasty recipes straight from the stadium.

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