Not only was plastic the most popular accessory at this year's Derby, it was the most versatile.
With rain drenching Churchill Downs, you could find trash bags fitted over once-pristine wide-brimmed hats and rubber boots on women and men alike.
Not that the crowds weren't dressed for Derby. There were still women in sky-high heels and men sporting fedoras, suits and ties.
It was the second trip to Churchill for Valerie Grose of Lawrence, Kan. As she shopped for Derby memorabilia, she was dressed from head to toe in rain gear. "I didn't want my hat to be ruined," she said of the crinkled bag wrapped around her white straw topper. The pink spotted rubber boots were a last-minute buy at Target; they matched the pink trench coat she already owned.
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Friends Carrie Butler and Erin Bach of Louisville and Kristin Gipson of St. Louis all wore boots. "We're going to embrace it," Bach said of the rainy weather.
One of the most original hats belonged to Kathleen Jorgensen of Littleton, Colo. Unlike many in the crowd, she wore not a hat covered with a plastic bag, but a hat made of plastic, molded together with a cut-up Frisbee as a brim, stuffed with a little toilet paper and covered in a trash bag. Packing tape and plastic red flowers adorned the brim.
"We had a brainstorm this morning," she said. Others in her group ran out to a Louisville dollar store for supplies, and she and her mother-in-law, Lois Moraine, were sitting happily on a bench at Churchill at midday.
"We haven't even had a mint julep yet," Jorgensen quipped.