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What to do if you Forgot the Fascinator



It’s Derby Day. You picked out your best pastels. You’re well-groomed and looking good. You have the Lyft called to Churchill downs…when it hits you: you forgot the fascinator.

Here’s how to survive this Derby Day travesty.

FIRST: What Even is a Fascinator?

Don’t call it a hat. A fascinator is a formal headpiece, and fancy alternative to a hat; it serves no function

 other than fashion, and is often adorned with feathers, flowers, and other large gaudy shapes.

The fascinator was first worn by Queen Marie Antoinette during the 1700s, when she adorned her head pieces with ostrich feathers. Now, us modern-day peasants find ourselves rocking fascinators of all shapes, sizes, and faux-feathers.

Fascinators have been a long standing KY Derby tradition. Sure they’ll let you in without one, but do you really want to be that person?


If Queen Marie Antoinette popularized sticking ostrich feathers on her head, you can find a last-minute solution! Here’s what to do if you forgot your fascinator:

1. Go Shopping

This is the most obvious answer. Head to Formé Millinery Hat Shop, which is just a stone’s throw away from our Downtown Public House. If they’re out of stock, you’ll have to resort to plan B: getting creative.

2. Dumpster Dive

Reduce, reduce, recycle, dive head first into the dumpster and start searching for the perfect fascinator-building materials.

There’s plenty of goodies you can find if you have an artist’s eye. Discarded hops look a little like elegant carnations, for example.

3. Think Outside the Box

Listen, the first Fascinator wasn’t a pretty headband. It was some stinky ostrich feathers Miss Antoinette probably thought were pretty, so she stuck ’em on her head. If you’ve been to Derby, you’ve seen some weird ones, so why not take it up a notch? Here are some items you can find at our Public House to throw into a last-minute fascinator:

  • PUB PRETZEL: Don’t be salty. It’s twisty, delicious, and timeless.
  • BLOODY MARY GARNISH: Nothing like wearing some vegetation on your head to signal you are a classy Derby-goer!
  • WREATH OF ATG BEERS: Drink them first to reduce weight.
  • NOODLE: Just ask our kitchen for the Mac, hold the Beer Cheese.

4. Give Up.

If you really can’t throw together a last-minute fascinator, might as well just hide in your shame. There’s always next year.

If you think your fascinator is the best, prove it! Come to ATG’s KY-Thurby party and enter the fascinator contest. We’re awarding bonus points to those that created their own piece!

Click here if you’ve got the best fascinator!