As the Preakness Stakes was just run last week, perhaps it is time this week to tell you about the Thomasville Rotary Club’s fun and fabulous Kentucky Derby Party at Colonial Country Club. Because of the timeliness of the Kentucky Derby Party, this column has jumped to the “starting gate.” There are so many wonderful things going on in High Point, and a few upcoming columns include the fabulous authors who spoke at the Literary League, the Special Blend Coffee fundraiser, the Stake & Burger, Pink Ribbon, Wine Tasting Dinner in honor of Triad United Rowing (Lenny Peters Foundation), and the list goes on.
It was great to be “back in the saddle again” at the Thomasville Rotary Club’s annual Kentucky Derby Party celebrating the 149th Run for the Roses. This year a golf tournament added to the day’s activities, making it a Golf & Derby Day. Normally these are two separate fundraisers, however it was decided to have one big day. Former District Rotary Governor Dave “Mr. Rotary” McCoy and I graciously offered to drive the “beverage” cart for the tournament, but in the end, we conceded to the Thomasonians. (Is that the word?)
The Kentucky Derby Day raised almost $40,000! It was noted that 100% of the proceeds support Thomasville local charities. The list of agencies supported by Thomasville Rotary Club includes Baptist Children’s Home of N.C., Communities In Schools of Thomasville, Cooperative Community Ministry, Fairgrove Family Resource Center, Father’s Storehouse Inc., Habitat for Humanity of Thomasville, Hospice of Davidson County, Salvation Army of Davidson County, Thomasville Medical Center Foundation, Thomasville Police Department, Thomasville Women’s Club and United Way of Davidson County.
The winding drive entering Colonial Country Club is so picturesque with the calming lake view. As I arrived and entered the check-in counter, I was excited to see Donna Blakely. We both were wearing our fascinators as a Kentucky Derby Party almost requires a “hat.” Regular hats always fall down to my nose (I have a “pinhead”) so a fascinator is perfect, and they are fashionably in style. For those who are not familiar with a fascinator, it is merely a “large decorative design with veil attached to a clip or head band.” Lately it has been designated as “high society” since Kate Middleton (princess of Wales) is often seen wearing one.
It was fun to be at an event with so many lovely hats. After buying betting tickets from Kim Cecil and getting the obligatory Kentucky Derby mint julep, I did my Mary Mingle. A beautiful horseshoe of roses fittingly hung over the bar. My table included High Point Rotarian extraordinaire and my friend Dave McCoy plus Debbie Saintsing, who is a past president of the Thomasville Rotary Club. Once again at this event I saw the Clinards, Don and Julie. You may recall, Julie is the sister of Ralph Eanes, who is married to Meredith, the mother of Julie Messner, senior vice president of furniture leasing and home decor at International Market Centers!
Tommy Hodges, aka Tommy Rock, is a Rotarian and has also served as the DJ at all the Kentucky Derby Parties. It is always great to see him and his wife, Crystal. There was Sharon Sink and her husband, Larry. Sharon had a fabulous, large-brimmed, black-and-white hat. I asked her where she got it. She laughed and told me it was late at night, and she decided to shop online (unlike me she usually doesn’t do that) and then she did it. She bought the hat!
I do like to give credit to major sponsors. The cocktail hour sponsor was the Kerr Williams Reality-Triad Connections Team. Gold sponsors were Mark and Mary Jane Akerman, chiropractor Dr. Tony Vizzini, Brandberry & Associates, Crescent Ford, Edward Jones-Jarrod Dunbar, and Wayne and Edith Underwood.
It was then I spotted the horse. No, not a real horse but the horse atop Kim Lesage’s head. I immediately had to ask, “Where did you get THAT hat?”
She said, “I went to Goodwill and bought the sombrero. Then I saw the horse and it was $4. The hat was $3. I came home and said, ‘I think I could get the horse on the hat.’ I got the drill out and drilled some holes in it and wired it with some washers. I wired the horse to it. It was heavy. I didn’t know if I could do something this goofy, but I said, ‘What the heck?’ This afternoon I went to my garden and glued peonies around the brim with glue stick.” Yes, Kim Lesage won the hat contest. She earned and deserved it!
There is an equestrian tidbit I would like to share. Donna and Jack Finch, president of Finch Industries in Thomasville, were inducted into the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association Hall of Fame earlier this Year in Lexington, Kentucky. Jack is the former chairman of the High Point University Board of Trustees! Congratulations, Jack and Donna. I will have some High Point equestrian news in a later column, thanks to Carolyn Wilson.
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