The Kentucky Derby is an annual time to celebrate at Flight 102 Wine Bar in Bourbonnais.

Wednesday is May 1, kicking off one of the busiest months for celebrations. The end of school for many, graduations, summer vacations, weddings, festivals and more.

For restaurants (and Best Bites), it’s all about special occasions — Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, and don’t forget the Kankakee Farmers’ Market will be opening soon.

The next few columns will feature venues to enjoy the Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.

First up — the 145th Kentucky Derby, which will take place Saturday. As they say, it’s the “greatest two minutes in sports” or the “Run for the Roses” and one of my favorite days of the year.

Dust off your favorite Derby hat, grab a racing form and enjoy a mint julep; it’s almost post time.

Here are just a few places to enjoy watching the ponies:

Excitement awaits at Flight 102 Wine Bar’s sixth annual Kentucky Derby Party. Last year, the mint juleps and bourbon were flowing. It won’t be any different this year. The doors open at 4 p.m., with guests watching the coverage on the 70-inch flat-screen TV. Kelly St. Aubin said there would be a best hat contest and a horse race game. Guests can place their name on the horse they think will win the Derby. The prize is 10 percent off your entire check, and there’s a wine basket raffle. Wear your best Derby hat and receive a free glass of wine.

Flight 102 is at 565 Main Street NW, Bourbonnais. Visit its website at flight102winebar.com, or call 815-556-WINE.

Laura Emme, of Uptown Grille, said they are planning another fabulous Kentucky Derby party with Kentucky Bourbon, the classic mint Juleps and unique cocktails with an Uptown twist.

This year the festivities will begin at 4 p.m., Friday and 2 p.m., Saturday. Guests will have a chance to win a prize for “Best Hat in Show.”

Uptown Grille is at 141 S. Chestnut St., Chebanse. Call 815-697-9710 for reservations.

It’s not too early to make those Mother’s Day reservations. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Tucci’s Italian will be serving a fabulous Mother’s Day brunch with all your favorites from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The brunch will include a variety of delightful breakfast items: eggs benedict, french toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy and more.

Luncheon items are Cajun shrimp and rice, chicken Vesuvio, broiled whitefish, shrimp, salads, lasagna, fruits and desserts. There also is a carving station with prime rib, lamb and ham, plus their famous pasta bar.

The price is $23.99 for adults; kids 10 and younger $11.99, this includes either coffee or tea. Check out more of their specials at tuccisitalian.com. Make a reservation today by calling 815-929-1875. Tucci’s Italian is located at 1560 N. Illinois Route 50, Bourbonnais.

Morris Chop Shop, Morris, and Big Fish Grille, Wilmington, will both be serving beautiful Mother’s Day brunch from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., May 12. Enjoy the brunch options or order from the regular menu, as there’s plenty to choose.

Reservations are recommended and appreciated.

Morris Chop Shop is at 701 Liberty St., Morris. Reservations are required by calling 815-710-5006.

Big Fish Grille is at 27425 S. Will Road, Wilmington. Call Big Fish to make reservations at 815-476-9331.

If you want to impress Mom and thank her to everything that she does for the family this is the perfect gift — a Lake Michigan cruise on the Spirit of Chicago that includes a fabulous brunch.

Get on board The Spirit of Chicago at 10:30 a.m. at Navy Pier and get ready for a wonderful trip and enjoy a beautiful brunch all while enjoying the Chicago skyline.

The trip, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., includes a delicious buffet with freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and dessert dishes with unlimited coffee, hot tea, and iced tea — not only food but a DJ with interactive games.

Brunch includes seasonal fruit, pastries, scrambled eggs, along with applewood smoked bacon, maple sausages, and potatoes with caramelized onions and red and green bell peppers.

If you prefer an evening cruise, there is one boarding at 6 p.m. and cruising from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The dinner menu includes a variety of salads, vegetables, baked ziti, Atlantic flounder, honey sesame chicken and prime rib; a dessert bar is included.

Contact spiritcruises.com for booking information, prices and reservations.

Tinker Parker can be reached at 815-802-5101, at bestbites@daily-journal.com, or follow her at Facebook.com/ TDJBestBites.

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