Downtown Derby set for Saturday in Jasper


To celebrate this weekend's Kentucky Derby, the 2018 Downtown Derby will be held Saturday in Jasper, featuring a Mule Race for the Roses.

The Walker County Arts Alliance (WCAA) will be hosting the event in downtown Jasper from 3 until 9 p.m. Saturday at Warehouse 319 on 19th Street West.

Mule Race for the Roses will be the largest component of the event, which will take participants on a scavenger hunt through downtown Jasper to find all the painted mules in the district.

The mules are part of the WCAA 50-Mule Team public art project.

The mule race will begin at 4 p.m. at Warehouse 319, where participants will locate mules around downtown and take a picture with each one they find. The first individual or team to make it back to Warehouse 319 will be declared the winner if they have located all 16 downtown mules. If teams do not locate all mules, the team that finds the most will win. 

Mule Race for the Roses winners will not be announced until after the Kentucky Derby Saturday. 

Full participation rules will be announced prior to the race, and the winning individual or team will receive $100 and a dozen roses. The entry fee is $5 per person or $8 for a team of two.

In addition to the Mule Race for the Roses, guests are invited to watch the Kentucky Derby at Warehouse 319, with the main event being televised just after 5:30 p.m.

A hat contest will be held to celebrate the derby tradition as well, with the winner receiving $50. The entry fee will be $5, and the winner will be announced following the Kentucky Derby. 

Items from the Walker County Arts Alliance will be for sale at the event, cornhole will be available for adults and children to play, and raffle tickets may be purchased for $1 each to win items from various businesses in Jasper. 

Warehouse 319 will be serving a weekend special of chicken and waffles and mint juleps as part of the Downtown Derby.   

WCAA board member Tana Collins said proceeds from the event will benefit the arts alliance's various programs, particularly for school children.

"The Walker County Arts Alliance has several programs that work with children and students in the public school system in Walker County and in various locations throughout the county," Collins said. "Without these programs, many children in rural Walker County would have no exposure to the arts."

Proceeds will also benefit the WCAA Healing Arts and Focus on Art projects, which allow public artists' art to be displayed in the hallways of Walker Baptist Medical Center.