LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The start of Kentucky Derby weekend drew more than 100,000 people to Louisville's Churchill Downs Friday.
Many come to watch the race considered "the most exciting two minutes in sports", but just as many come for the fashion.
With such a large crowd organizers heightened security in response to the Boston bombings.
Purse sizes were limited and coolers banned.
The safety measures didn't limit the pageantry, however.
All weekend, people watching is a sport of its own.
"It's amazing. I've never seen such decor," said derby fan Tiffany Miller. "People are absolutely gorgeous. Both men and women. It's very electrifying here."
Weeks are spent selecting the perfect hat, big, bright and bold, and often garnished in feathers, flowers and bows.
"Everyone wants to take your pictures if you have something over the top," says Cara Wilson.
This pomp and fashion just the start of the longest contested sporting event in history, and the chance to watch the nations best compete for the Triple Crown.
Tomorrow the track expects to see even more people, upwards of 150,000 for the Kentucky Derby itself.
-- Danielle Leigh, NBC News, reports