Food & Wine Festival meets the Kentucky Derby in La Jolla

Raise a glass, like these guests of the 139th Kentucky Derby, during this year's Junior League of San Diego Food & Wine Festival.

Raise a glass, like these guests of the 139th Kentucky Derby, during this year’s Junior League of San Diego Food & Wine Festival.

(Mike Coppola / Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)

Get ready to cheer on the winning Kentucky Derby horse at this year’s Junior League of San Diego’s Food & Wine Festival. Taking place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 at Ellen Scripps Browning Park in La Jolla, the 18th annual festival coincides with the 144th Kentucky Derby. With over expected 1,200 attendees decked out in Derby gear, the fest marks one of the most stylish events of the year.

Guests can carouse on the lawn while munching on tasty bites and sipping on beer, wine and cocktails from more than 40 restaurants, wineries and breweries. Local participating restaurants include Farmer & the Seahorse, Oceanaire, True Food Kitchen, Truluck’s, and We Olive. Participating breweries include Viewpoint, Newtopia Cyder and Lagunitas. Oceanfront revelry continues with live music, art, a silent auction, and prize raffles. With multiple large-screen televisions on site, viewing the Kentucky Derby race will be easy-breezy.

General admission costs $85, and for VIP passes at $110, guests will be treated to the oceanfront VIP lounge and dining area, along with exclusive vendors, including Pali Wine Co and Juice Crafters, plus a swank VIP bag. Don’t forget to head to the La Valencia hotel for the free after-party from 4-8 p.m. at Cafe La Rue.

If you’ve never attended a Kentucky Derby party or Opening Day at Del Mar, there might be two burning questions in your mind:

What do I wear?

Guys: Pull out that deep South seersucker or linen suit and pair it with a bow tie and derby hat for the appropriate look. Pastels are encouraged.

Gals: Linen dresses, springy colors, and flower prints are all the rage when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. Don’t forget a fabulous (and maybe even a little outrageous) hat or fascinator (think Kate Middleton) to top off the look. Leave your stilettos at home and opt for wedges, as the event is on grass, and sinking into the dirt just isn’t chic.

Where do I get a hat?

For a Derby-inspired dress, head to Westfield UTC and Vineyard Vines for a preppy look, or head to nearby Nordstrom for a more designer vibe. For guaranteed compliments, stroll down to Kendra Scott for her trademark jewelry, including enviable earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. For that perfect showstopper head-topper, try the Village Hat Shop, which has multiple locations around town and is also a supporter of the Junior League of San Diego.

For more information, outfit ideas, tickets, and parking passes, visit