Sometimes, even super-successful, established events need a shot in the arm.
That’s what Hospice Care Plus’s Derby event committee decided as it began planning for the 2013 Run for the Roses Derby Eve Benefit, Madison County’s longest-running Derby party.
“We always begin planning for the next one as soon as the current one has ended,” said Angie Bailey-Davis, special events coordinator at Hospice Care Plus. “And when we sat down last spring to start the process, we immediately began to talk about how to add something fresh and new.”
Those talks led to a complete makeover of the 10-year-old charity event, beginning with a new name: the Gala on Derby Eve.
The Derby Event Committee, made up of women from Berea and Richmond, changed the location as well. The committee chose the new Armed Forces Reserve Center in Richmond as the 2013 location.
It was a difficult decision, Bailey-Davis said. Acres of Land Winery provided a stunning setting for the event for years, but “keeping it fresh really required a change,” she said.
(The Wine & Rose Brunch and pre-Derby fashion show will still be at the Acres of Land Winery at 11 a.m. April 13. Tickets are $30 per person.)
“Many people will remember that, when this event began 10 years ago, it was hosted at a different home each year. We’ve been hearing that our guests really miss the excitement of celebrating in a new spot from time to time. As much as they — and we — loved Acres of Land’s beautiful facility and landscape, the event really requires that we vary location occasionally.”
The new facility provides a large, open space to allow for an ample dance floor, band space, roomy dinner tables and elaborate décor. In fact, the décor is another major change this year and will feature several surprise touches.
The committee has worked with designers and others to completely transform the space into an elegant, magical setting perfect for a memorable evening.
“We don’t want to give away all the surprises,” said Bailey-Davis. “But I can tell you that the red carpet is an exciting new feature. We’ll have a true, red-carpet entrance that includes a backdrop with the dramatic Gala logo on it. Photographers will be in place to take photos of every arrival, and we’ll be sharing those online for people to use as they wish.”
With the new name came the need for a new logo. The committee worked with a regional graphic artist to capture the elegance and charm associated with Derby tradition, while introducing modern touches that incorporate the drama and sophistication they wanted to add to the restyled event.
“The red and black colors evoke that sense of drama,” Bailey-Davis said. “And the clean lines you see in the logo are a stylized version of the twin spires, a more modern take on that image. The rose is our symbol of tradition, the importance of keeping the long and storied history of the Derby as part of our event. And finally, the beautiful, curved lines the rose rests on call to mind the track at Churchill Downs.”
The change she’s most looking forward to? “Probably the ice sculpture,” she said. “I won’t give away what the subject is, but I promise it will be dazzling!”
Also planned are special lighting effects, heavy use of decorative fabric, and a new layout.
Guests are asked to wear black-tie-optional attire, a slight change-up from the previous dress code.
Some of the tried-and-true elements of the event will remain, including complimentary valet parking, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails (particularly the iconic Mint Julep), open bar, full buffet dinner, live music and dancing.
“I don’t think anyone will want to miss this,” said Bailey-Davis. “Even if you’ve attended every year, you’re going to want to see this amazing transformation. And if you’ve never attended, you are going to want to see what everyone will be talking about the next day.”
The Gala on Derby Eve is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 3 at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Richmond.
Reservations are $100 each.
Reservations for the Gala as well as the Wine & Rose Brunch and pre-Derby fashion show can be made online at hospicecp.org or by calling Hospice Care Plus at 986-1500.
All proceeds support the nonprofit Hospice Care Plus.
Sometimes, even super-successful, established events need a shot in the arm.
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