Happy Derby Day! Race time is sometime between 6:45 and 7 this evening and, hopefully, you have a plan to have a Mint Julep in your hand for the race. If not, go to the Galaxy in Wadsworth; they always have a Derby party and do it right. Tail Gators in Wadsworth will also be having a Derby Party with Mint Juleps! At this point, I must say that my mother reminds me via text while reading my column that the Kentucky Derby is also about the horses.

But time to move on to the next big thing, Cinco de Mayo! Tomorrow is the all-American celebration of Mexican culture and there is really no excuse not to “fiesta like there’s no mañana!” If you can make it to one of our area’s fine Mexican restaurants and have a margarita and some salsa and chips, some Mexican cuisine and soak in the excitement and feeling of the day, then you are living right.

I know that our publishers, Bruce and Mike Trogdon, will be celebrating at Fiesta Jalapeños in Medina, their weekly spot! Gran Fiesta in Strongsville, Casa Del Rio and El Ricon in Wadsworth, El Patron in Seville and Nuestra Casa in Rittman are all great places to be tomorrow. Life is short and the first weekend of May, when flowers are emerging, trees are greening up and birds are singing reminds us to get out and celebrate life’s moments.

Speaking of celebrating life’s moments, many of us, myself included, have a graduation party to throw. We are entering the graduation party season and people are finalizing plans to celebrate their student’s transition to the next stage of life. My wife and I have been discussing the details for what seems like months. I feel a certain pressure to pull off some great food. There are so many options, so many venues.

For food, we have decided to combine some of “Cookin’ with Karl’s” talents on the grill with some of our family member’s talents at making their signature dishes. We can do this because we are having a small, mostly-family party. My mother-in-law Sheri and family friend Sharon Gall will be teaming up to make their famous Italian beef. Our good friends Patti and Bill will be making their amazing Caesar salad. I will be cooking Traeger-smoked chicken wings, ribs and the like. Since I truly enjoy grilling, this will be fun for me.

Others are having larger-scale parties and this requires the help of our restaurant partners so that they can have a stress-free day. You want to enjoy the party and not be doing all of the work. Remember: you are celebrating your child’s past and future. Leave the cooking to the pros.

As I look out to our dining partners in The Post, some great options that come to mind. One new partner, Twiisted Burgers and Sushi, has a mobile kitchen that they will bring to your party. Imagine sushi and burgers for the ultimate party win!

A gyro platter from Old World Deli will also bring some smiles.

Fiesta Jalapeños in Medina serves up “parties-to-go” with many catering options. Our other Mexican restaurant partners likely do the same.

There is always the classic pizza and chicken with JoJo’s combination that kids love. Dominic’s in Medina is famous for supplying many of the parties over the past 40 years.

But a new entry into the food truck market, Courthouse Pizza, has a mobile truck that would make a lot of high school and college kids happy.

You also have the option of “wowing” guests with hundreds of wings from Quaker Steak and Lube or On Tap or, of course, Buffalo Wild Wings. All three of those are excellent in the chicken wing category.

If you really want to go all out, consider having someone like Corkscrew Saloon and other area chef-driven restaurants cater your entire event. They will come to you and design a menu to fit your needs. Most of them have an option for you to have your party at their place, as well. Corkscrew Saloon has a wonderful building behind the restaurant that is perfect for a larger party.

The fact is, many of our dining partners have great catering options. Call them and see what they can do for you. You will enjoy the party more – and have a stress-free day!

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