This past weekend was the running of the Kentucky Derby. I really didn’t give much thought to it until I ran into another mom who told me she was going to attend a Derby party that night. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, but once she explained it was a Kentucky Derby party I was really fascinated. I started peppering her with questions. Will you wear a hat? Will there be betting? Will there be a signature drink? “Well, of course!” she replied. Hats, wagers and mint juleps were all on the menu. In recent years it seems like more and more people are throwing these kinds of home spectator parties. No longer do people just gather for the annual Superbowl. Theme parties spread the gamut from erudite election parties to glitzy Oscar parties complete with red carpet. All this partying has me thinking. Fun and frivolity aside, what is the deeper appeal of the spectator party and what does it have to do with branding?