Derby History Quiz
Derby Day Racing Drew Thousands!
It wasn't quite the Kentucky Derby, but it was at just about the same time of year and generated some incredible enthusiasm in Derby - and New Haven. In 1923, Yale decided to hold its spring crew regatta at its new boat house along the Housatonic River in Derby. It was to turn out that the events surrounding the races would become bigger than the race itself. The student body at Yale embraced the race and turned it into a very special day to dress up and blow off a little steam.
The event that we speak of drew as many as 20,000 spectators including up top 5,000 who arrived by special trains just for the day. One account speaks of the observation train having 31 cars for spectators including the presidents of Cornell and Yale who were racing along with Princeton. One news report from 1931 said, "It is a festival touched by ceremonious mania, causing juniors to add to the gaiety of fraternity house parties the absurd and jovial dignity of top-hats, frock-coats and waistcoats with pearl buttons." The day's festivities came to be known as "Derby Day."
It seems that the spectators eventually became too much a part of the festivities, and the event was officially dropped in 1951.
Thanks to randy Ritter for suggesting the quiz.
Correct answers were received from: Ann Searles, Marc J. Garofalo, Jack Vagnini, Jim Bartlett, Jack Skelding, John M. Rak, John Kowarik, Gene Wajdowicz, Rick Dunne, Raymond M. Petrillo, Millie from Ansonia, Mary Suess, Steve Reilly, Eileen Krugel, Glenn Gaetano, Jack O'Callaghan, Fred Grant, Chris Kalesavich, Bernie Williamson, Joe Dedo, MaryAnn Meyer, Kimberley Shelton, Stephanie Anne D'Onofrio, Sean Conlon, Nick Vulcu, Mary Lou Boroski, David Neus, Ed Morse, Pat Shelton, Bob Ahearn, Gary Lungarini, Charles M. Stankye, Jr., Allison Calvert, Meghan Jackson (Condon), Frank from St Pete Beach, Robert Loftus, james dziekan, Dave Petz, Rich DiCarlo, Margo Bondi, John Whalen, Pearl Tyburski, Don Grailich, Carolyn Nowakowski Kovach, James Allaire, and Caroline Nash.
To see our earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.