Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Three Derby Parties - An Insider's Viewpoint

Arts insider Gioia Patton gives you the scoop on three favorite Derby parties. Were you one of her chosen 2012 best dressed? Flip through pictures and learn the details for this year's iconic events.

Silks in the Bluegrass

This annual Derby night event benefits Operation Open Arms, Inc., a Louisville-based nonprofit organization founded by Cathy & Irv Bailey that provides care for children whose mothers are incarcerated.

2013 marks the fifth Silks in the Bluegrass, which includes cocktails, dinner and celebrity entertainment. Having attended the Silks in the Bluegrass since 2010, I can state I’ve never come away feeling less than enormously impressed by not only the Baileys’ commitment to Operation Open Arms but also the high caliber of the event itself. The 2013 entertainment is Valerie Simpson, half of the legendary singer/songwriter duo Ashford & Simpson, one of the pioneers of Motown sound. The duo’s songwriting credits include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “You’re All I Need to Get By”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”. Ashford & Simpson’s own hit recordings include “Solid (as a Rock)”, and they also penned the Chaka Khan Juggernaut anthem, “I’m Every Woman”.

When: May 4 (Derby night), doors open @ 7 p.m., event begins @ 7:30.
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 830 Phillips Lane
Tickets: $250 per person, includes cocktails, dinner and performance
Contact: openarms.org or call 502.777.6300

Easter Seals Taste of the Oaks

‘It’s Derby time in Derby city!’ is the thought that always greets me at the door the moment I walk into this annual Kentucky Derby event, the proceeds from which provide essential medical rehabilitation to children with special needs treated at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center/Easter Seals of Louisville.

With men dressed in suits and ties, ladies in smart casual attire (some also wearing bright-colored hats,) the Galt House Ballroom and its lobby are abuzz with a variety of merchandise, food and beverage booths that attendees happily wait in line for, including the Melting Pot, Goose Creek Diner, Panera Bread, Jim Beam and Heaven Hill Distilleries. The dance floor is also in full swing by the time I arrive about 6:30 p.m. every year, thanks to the live band, Crushed Velvet, which plays rock ‘n’ roll music from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. But if this isn’t enough to pique your interest in attending the 2013 (and 10th) annual event, the festivities also include a silent auction of more than 75 unique items, including tickets to events, vacation destinations, jewelry, Derby hats and memorabilia.
When: May 2, 6 p.m.
Where: Galt House, in the Grand Ballroom
Entertainment: Crushed Velvet
Tickets: $75 per person. Open seating and reserved table for 10 is $850.
Contact: 502.584.9781 or eastersealslouisville.org

Taste of Derby Festival

I laugh to myself when I think of the scene that meets my eye the moment I enter the lobby of Louisville Slugger Field where this annual Kentucky Derby Festival event is held. It always amuses me to see the many smartly casual-attired people patiently standing shoulder to shoulder in one of eight different rows for this fundraising event for Dare to Care Food Bank. Such is their enthusiasm that these same people are also bopping their heads up and down and weaving from side to side to attempt to catch a glimpse of just which food and beverage samples they are about to be served. Always jammed-packed, the Taste of Derby Festival is considered Louisville’s favorite restaurant event, with samples from more than 60 celebrated local restaurants, bourbon distilleries and beverage companies. 2013 is the 26th annual event and includes a silent auction, Bloody Mary contest and more.

When: April 17, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Louisville Slugger Field
Tickets: $80 each. *Must be 21+ to attend.
Contact: tasteofderbyfestival.org *No tickets sold at door.

– Arts insider Gioia Patton

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