Talk about star power! Patrica Barnstable-Brown has pulled together another breathtaking celebrity guest list for her annual bucket-list Derby Eve party held the night before the Kentucky Derby. Our advice? You’ll want to pull on your shades before glancing over the whos-who of the world of sports, music, television, film and dignitaries coming to this party.
This list of luminaries has supernova potential starting with Super Bowl Champions Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. Also attending the glamourous Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve gala is A-lister Chris Pine (“Star Trek,” “Wonder Woman”) and Louisville rapper Jack Harlow.
“We have so many wonderful guests coming this year and one surprise guest who we are keeping a secret until the night of the party,” Barnstable-Brown told the Courier Journal. “And speaking of surprises, I am so glad Peyton is able to come again this year, and he’s bringing along a pair of very special guests who we can’t wait to meet.”
The celebrity-packed Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala, now in its 34th year, is internationally recognized as the premier Kentucky Derby gala and counted among the “Ten Best Parties in the World” by Condé Nast. In 2022, Olympian Michael Phelps attended along with music superstars Janet Jackson, Darius Rucker, and Jason Aldean. Additionally, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, actor Jeff Bridges, and Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady have been part of Barnstable Brown’s carefully curated and always eclectic guest lists in the past.
This year, the legendary Smokey Robinson will be coming to the party along with actor Justin Hartley (“This is Us”), Ian Bohen (“Yellowstone”), music superstars Boyz II Men, NSYNC’s Joey Fatone, Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) and singer-songwriter Rachel Platten, who is performing the national anthem at the Kentucky Oaks earlier in the day on Friday.
The Louisville-born Barnstable-Brown co-hosts the dazzling evening with her son, Christopher Barnstable-Brown, and her identical twin sister Priscilla “Cyb” Barnstable. The party kicks off with a red carpet entrance during which a large crowd of star watchers and fans erupt in excitement each time a limousine pulls up to the entrance and a celebrity steps out. With lawn chairs and blankets, streetside spectators are part of the tradition on Derby Eve outside Barnstable-Brown’s yellow mansion, which is perched on a grassy hillside illuminated by thousands of twinkling white lights.
Under enormous white tents erected in the backyard for the party, a music stage becomes the center of attention once all the celebrities and invited party guests have arrived. It’s where “The Voice” winner and Kentucky native Jordan Smith, country legends Travis Tritt and Eddie Montgomery, another Kentucky native, plus Sambora, Boyz II Men, Fatone, and Robinson will perform some unexpected musical mashups.
Barnstable-Brown said the unpredictability of who will take the stage and what new friendships will be forged is the magic sauce of her legendary party.
“We never know who is going jump up on stage,” she said.'”One year Peyton (Manning) got up and sang. It’s anyone’s guess and the guests absolutely love it.”
The Louisville-born sisters are well known for their own time in the spotlight. As the spokesmodels of Wrigley’s “Double Mint” chewing gum, their commercial played in every American home with a television set in the 1970s. In 1971, Barnstable-Brown was crowned Miss Kentucky and placed in the top five in the Miss USA pageant. The twins were also featured together on magazine covers for Redbook and Good Housekeeping and appeared on episodes of the television shows “The Love Boat,” “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” and starred in “Quark” a short-lived sitcom.
Beyond the star power and razzle-dazzle, the opulent celebrity-packed gala benefits the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Last year’s party alone donated $1.2 million to the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Research Center bringing the total donations to over $17 million to combat diabetes.
For party guests like Fatone, the Derby Eve event and its charitable cause go hand-in-hand. In 2021, he was asked to appear on “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” and the money he raised was donated to the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center. For a number of years, Sambora has performed at the party playing a custom-made guitar which he auctions off at the end of the night, and donates the proceeds to the Barnstable Brown Center.
First-time celebrity guests like Mahomes, Harlow and Pine should be ready for an electrifying but pleasant fan presence, a red carpet step-and-repeat with local, national, and international reporters, and the long hike up Barnstable-Brown’s rather steep driveway. It’s all part of what makes the Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala an enchanting and one-of-a-kind Kentucky Derby weekend experience.
Here’s every celebrity we know of so far who is attending the 2023 Barnstable Brown Derby Gala:
2023 Barnstable Brown Derby Gala celebrity list
- Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl Champion and MVP quarterback Kansas City Chiefs (2020, 2023)
- Chris Pine, American actor knowns for “Star Trek” reboot and “Wonder Woman”
- Peyton Manning, Super Bowl Champion quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts (2007) and Denver Broncos (2016)
- Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl Champion quarterback with Green Bay Packers (2011), now plays with New York Jets
- Jack Harlow, Grammy-nominated rapper from Louisville
- Smokey Robinson, singer, producer and songwriter known as the frontman for the “Miracles”
- Boyz II Men, Vocal harmony group including Nathan Morris, Wanyá Morris and Shawn Stockman
- Justin Hartley, American actor known for “This is Us” and “Smallville”
- Rachel Platten, singer-songwriter performing at 2023 Kentucky Oaks
- Ian Bohen, American actor known for “Yellowstone”
- Bill Bellamy, American actor and stand-up comedian
- Randall Cobb, NFL wide receiver and former University of Kentucky football player
- Emmitt Smith, NFL running back formerly with Dallas Cowboys
- Travis Tritt, Country music artist
- Bret Baier, host of Special Report on Fox News
- Doug E. Fresh, rapper, record producer and beatboxer also known as “The Human Beat Box”
- Joey Fatone, Singer/entertainer best known as a member of NSYNC
- Richie Sambora, guitarist, singer, songwriter, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi
- Eddie Montgomery, Country music artist and Kentucky native
- Jordan Smith, Winner of Season 9 “The Voice” and native of Harlan, Kentucky
- Billy Gilman, Country music artist
- Brandon Stokley, radio personality and former American football wide receiver
- Larry Birkhead, photographer
- Dannielynn Birkhead, daughter of Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead
- David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers offensive tackle
- Matt Flynn, Super Bowl Champion 2011, quarterback with Green Bay Packers
- Bryan Bulaga, Super Bowl Champion 2011, offensive tackle with Green Bay Packers
- Robert Pine, American actor known as Sgt. Joseph Getraer on the television series “CHiPs”
- Blake Bell, Super Bowl Champion tight end, Kansas City Chiefs
- Shane Buechele, Super Bowl Champion quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
- Jimmy Graham, NFL football tight end
- A.J. Hawk, sports analyst and former American football linebacker
Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.