Louisville Real Estate Blog | Brad Long Real Estate Group | Keller Williams Louisville East

Downs After Dark - A Golden Era

Who said Churchill Downs is only fun one weekend out of the year? With the relatively new night racing series, Churchill Downs has become a hot spot more often than not and this upcoming weekend will be no exception. Downs After Dark began in 2010 and has been picking up speed and popularity ever since. Downs After Dark combines horse racing, music, and the nightclub scene to create the ultimate party. Each Downs After Dark attracts tens of thousands of patrons. Attendees come to party under the historic twin spires in a unique setting that you can’t get in a normal afternoon at the track. Couches and lounge chairs accompany the typical paddock furniture, creating a unique nightclub atmosphere. The Downs After Dark model has proven to be very successful. 

It is nearing the end of November and Churchill Down’s night racing will return from a short hiatus with an extravagant party. Saturday, November 17, 2012, Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka are hosting Down After Dark-A Golden Era. The theme, A Golden Era, will celebrate the roaring twenties, so make sure you come with your flapper hat and mob boss suit in tow. Churchill Downs is said to be transformed into a “Gatsby-like estate” according to Darren Rogers, Senior Director of Communications and Media Services at Churchill Downs. You can expect the same over-the-top decor and exciting ambiance that you get from any other Downs After Dark.

In keeping with he roaring 20’s theme, the headliners for the night will be Swing St. Louis featuring Jack Garret and the Syndicate and the Rick Bartlett Band. Both bands will be performing at the former Paddock Pavilion.

Downs After Dark is also bringing back a popular Bet or no Bet Sweepstakes sponsored by Thortons. Four lucky fans will get the chance to choose between placing a $1,000 win wager on a horse of their choice, or walk away with a $100 gas gift card.

Doors open at 3:00pm on Saturday and the first race is scheduled to run at 4:30pm. There are eleven races to run under the lights with the last race scheduled for 9:36pm. General admission to Churchill Downs is $10.00, but there are a variety of other ticketing options available.  

Box seats are available for $20.00 per person.

For $40.00 per person you can gain access to the Millionaire's Lounge where beer tastings are available as well as food tastings, entertainment and access to a semiprivate balcony.  

For $59.95 you can sit in Millionaires Row. You will also have dinner on Millionaires Row. 

For $101 per person you will have a private Jockey Club Suite. A private room and balcony, full bar and chef table, and private wagering machine are all included. A 15 person minimum is required.

I already have my plans set to attend this weekend’s Downs After Dark and I wouldn't miss it for anything. Churchill Downs and Downs After Dark are both uniquely Louisville and we should take advantage of celebrating them every chance we get. 

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Take Advantage of Your St. Matthews Parks Before the Freeze

Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the last days of bearable weather before the harsh Winter sinks in. In fact, these next few weeks when there is a chill in the air and the last leaves are falling off of the trees, are the best days for bundling up in your cold weather gear and heading out to your local parks for some fun. This is my favorite time of year for enjoying the many outdoor amenities that our city has to offer. These days spent playing outside not only bring with them the obvious excitement of a day at the park but often lead to some of the best memories.  

St. Matthews has several parks within the community. The heart of the St. Matthews neighborhood is the award winning Brown Park. Brown Park holds many of the community events such as next month’s Light up St. Matthews and the recent 15th annual St. Matthews Halloween Festival that was a huge hit. When Brown Park isn’t hosting a huge neighborhood blow out, you can always find someone you know at the park using it’s many amenities. Brown Park has beautiful asphalt walking trails through the woods and next to Beargrass Creek, creating scenic but walkable paths.  There is a pond on the East side of the park that has become the home of several species of wild duck. Children love to come to the pond and check out the ducks. Although there are posted signs saying not to feed them, I have seen many Grandmas allowing their happy grandsons to throw the ducks some crackers. Brown Park is also equip with playgrounds, picnic tables, barbeques, and a large pavilion for entertaining.  

Seneca Park is one of Louisville’s most popular parks and is right on the outskirts of St. Matthews. Seneca Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same “landscape architect” who designed New York City’s Central Park. Seneca Park is a 500 acre park that offers many amenities, including soccer fields, baseball fields, tennis courts, running paths, and an 18-hole golf course.

If you are a sports lover than Community Park is the place for you to go. Community Park is a 45.8 acre park located just off of Shelbyville Road by the Ten Pin Lane Bowling Alley. Community Park is home to the St. Matthews Little League so it is filled with league quality baseball fields. In addition to the baseball fields, the park has basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, asphalt walking trails through wooded terrain, and picnic tables with barbeques. This park has everything you need if you are going to watch a game with your family or if you want to play your own game!

Arthur K. Draut Park is a simple park located on Bowling Boulevard just several blocks from Brown Park. This 24.2 acre park is intended for walkers, runners, or joggers and offers a scenic trail for interesting ambiance. No restrooms are offered at this park, so it is purely a place to enjoy the view. 

Warwick Park is located off of Virginia Avenue and has many amenities for all ages. There is an asphalt walking trail around the perimeter of the park, creating a track and open green space in the middle. Barbeques, picnic tables, playgrounds, and basketball courts are all available at the park as well as a baseball diamond that is available to be reserved for free.  A large pavilion can also be reserved for large parties at no cost.

All of these St. Matthews city parks are open to the public from Dawn till Dusk and offer free parking. Bundle up in your coats, hats, and gloves, and enjoy your local parks even if it is a little chilly! Pretty soon it will be so cold the only thing you will be able to do at these parks is sled!

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Preparing for the Holiday Stress

With signs of the upcoming holiday season popping up everywhere, it is understandable that many of us are starting to get a little anxious about the amount of money we are expected to spend in the next several weeks. The holiday season is supposed to be filled with family, friends, and holiday cheer, but more often is ruined by the many stresses that come along with the time of year. Now is the time however, before the holiday season officially begins, to plan ahead to reduce the holiday stress. Chances are that you will be spending more money in the next month or so than you would normally spend throughout the year. The good news is that if you plan ahead, there are ways to either offset or reduce the hit of the extra spending.  

For Thanksgiving this year my family is trying something new. We are not only changing things up to reduce our spending but to reduce the stress involved. My husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our new home and inviting both sides of our family so that we don't have to travel. Instead of doing a traditional sit-down Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to have a “Thanksgiving Party.” With 20 adults and 7 kids a sit down dinner would be both stressful and frankly, quite ridiculous, so we decided on a buffet style dinner. Everyone is bringing a dish or two, and we are supplying the centerpiece to the meal. We ordered a Turdunken from the Frankfort Avenue restaurant, Varanese, which in itself it’s reducing our stress load and was well worth what we paid. All we have to do is pop in in the oven the night before and the next day we will have a glistening turkey, duck, chicken, ready for our guests.The money and stress we will save doing it this way is already worth it. I will report back and let you know how the Thanksgiving party went.  

Parents around Christmas time make themselves crazy trying to find the perfect toy for their child and often end up spending more money than they would like. Every parent wants to give their child a good holiday season and I have a simple way to ease the financial burden. Take advantage of the community's kids eat free opportunities. Every day of the week there is a restaurant in the St. Matthews neighborhood that offers a kids eat free deal.  

If you are going to eat at a restaurant, make sure that you take the time to find out which restaurants are offering free food for your child. I figure this season you are spending extra money on them so why not feed them for free?

Mondays are kids eat free at W.W Cousins, one of my favorite restaurants. W.W Cousins is a great place to bring the kids. The burger and salad bar are great for both adults and children and the restaurant offers a noise level that welcomes young children.  

Go to Penn Station on Tuesdays and when you purchase a normal size sub you get a small one for free.  

     Kids eat free at Moe's Southwest Grille on Wednesdays.
     Thursdays go to McAlister's, kids eat free.
     Fridays at Salsaritas kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.  
     Kids eat free at Hooters on Saturday so go and grab some wings!
     Sundays offer free kids meals at Tumbleweed.

The holidays can be very stressful, but plan ahead and try to be creative. There are a lot of ways to save money while spending extra money on the holidays. You want to be able to enjoy  the holidays while you are celebrating them, so prepare yourself now so you can enjoy yourself later. 


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Leftover Pumpkin Month

November is the month of the pumpkin. I know, I know, Halloween is in October and that is when we carve our pumpkins, go pumpkin picking, and see the influx of pumpkins everywhere we turn, so yea, October really should be the month of the pumpkin, but just hear me out. The day after Halloween is November 1st and that is the day that our truly creative pumpkin process can get started. After Halloween we are usually left with several pumpkins that we have no idea what to do with. These gourd-like squashes have so many uses beyond the standard Jack-O-Lantern that it is a shame to think we would just toss it out. I’m going to share just a few of the many things you can do with your pumpkins after Halloween to keep the pumpkin love going all month long.
My first tip is probably the simplest, if you haven’t carved your pumpkin, then don’t do anything to it! Leave it on your porch, but tweak a few things around it to change the decor from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Add a few gourds, mums, or even a hay bale, and watch as your Halloween décor turns into a beautiful outdoor Fall expression.

PumpkinOne of the oldest tricks with pumpkins is to toast the seeds and it is probably the only reason why I carve them anymore. Again, this is only for you folks who haven’t carved your pumpkins yet. Get all the guts out of your pumpkin and throw them into a bowl that has a top. Add water and close the top, shake and let sit. The seeds should float to the top and the guts of the pumpkin should separate and stay on the bottom. Put the seeds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until you can smell that they are ready. I enjoy my seeds the old fashioned way, with a light sprinkle of kosher salt. There are all sorts of recipes online however if you want to get fancy. 

Now for the majority of you, the ones with leftover jack-o-lanterns. What the heck do you do with those? Would you guess you could have a spa day? Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc which are all wonderful for your skin. I found two pumpkin spa recipes online that look divine and I cant wait to try them with my leftovers.

Pumpkin Facial
2 tsp. pumpkin
½ tsp. honey
½ tsp. milk
¼ tsp. cinnamon

Mix together and apply. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Rinse.

Pumpkin Body Scrub
1/2c. cooked pumpkin
1/2c. brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon

Mix together. Apply in shower with wet wash cloth avoiding face. Rinse with warm water.

For more information on these recipes and for more ideas go to dailycandy.com

Other ideas for using your pumpkin include cooking with the endless possible pumpkin recipes like pies, muffins, and soups, composting your pumpkin to help your garden grow, or plant the seeds to grow your own pumpkins.
Be creative with your leftover pumpkins, and never just toss them out. If nothing else let the neighborhood kids go at them with some paint, let them see if it floats in water or at least let them throw it off the porch and watch it splatter. Have a great pumpkin month!  

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