The Colden Manor at Spruce Lodge was flooded with magnificent hats and sharp dressed guests for the first ever Kentucky Derby Dinner Party. The Southern Ulster Rotary created the event as a fundraiser for their international project, Konojel.
“It was an idea crafted by the entirety of the Rotary Club committee, and it’s something different from the events we’ve held in the past. All proceeds from this event will go towards our international project Konojel in Guatemala,” said Rotary Club President Will Farrell.
The rotary has been working with Konojel for several years now, trying to help the population of San Marcos in Guatemala. The club focuses on helping children and mothers, as well as helping children develop healthy nutritional habits.
“It’s a fairly poor area, and we do everything we can to support the community down there. People in San Marcos only live on $2 a day per household, so even the smallest proceeds mean so much,” said Sue Reichardt, President of the committee and organizer of the event.
Attendees were treated to a buffet containing some of Colden Manor’s finest recipes, a DJ playing music all night, and of course a bar in the back room. Raffle tickets were being sold as well, and three prizes were given out to the lucky numbers called. To top it off, a silent auction was included, with all proceeds benefiting Konojel.
“We will probably continue to do this Kentucky Derby Dinner in the future! Seeing how well this one turned out to be, it’s great to see such a good turnout!” said co-director of the rotary committee Kat Strickland.
The highlight of the evening was the “hat dance.” Instead of a traditional hat parade, everyone got on the dancefloor with their hats and danced around for a while - a modern touch on an age old tradition.
Members of the Southern Ulster Rotary committee are Rotary President Will Farrell, Director of the committee Sue Reichardt, Co-Director Kat Strickland, and committee members Debbie Botbyl, Diane Sterling, Mo Bryant, and Heather Barton.
“The Rotary Club supports several people in the nearby communities. Whether it be youth, seniors, we love to help whoever is in need of it. We help out the summer camps, and try to plan events like this to gain support and funds to help as much as we can,” explained Farrell.