|Guests got to hand dip VIP MMSC bottles!|
“Susanna, we are proud of our association with you, but our company policy is to support a charity for one year and then move on to another worthy cause,” he told me. “Maker’s Mark has never in its history done what it has done for your Center, raising money over three consecutive years with our limited run Triple Crown series of bottles.”
I was aware of that and very grateful for it. But we were the only charity that sported their name, and, like them, were known for producing excellence in a signature Kentucky product. Perhaps he could show his support of our association is some other way?
“We could do a party together,” he suggested.
Party?! BRILLIANT! Much better than an out and out donation. A party would achieve so much more on so many fronts. Thank you, Rob. Great idea!
The site was a no brainer. MMSC, of course. The date was trickier. It was already mid summer. We needed time to do everything. November? Too cold, and getting into holiday season. October seemed good. Chances for nice weather were good. The races were on at the nearby Keeneland Race Course, so Thoroughbred people would be in town. But UK football was in full swing and Kentuckians support their teams (especially basketball), which might hurt attendance. The Kentucky Horse Park’s teeming schedule of shows had to be considered as well. Would they boost or deflate our crowd? And we had to make absolutely sure there were no scheduled school cross country meets which the Horse Park hosts in the field across from us. At those times, a swell of youth flaunting fit calves and thighs spews over into the drive to our entrance like a surging, turbulent sea. Your car gets engulfed. Most of the runners are oblivious to its presence; all seem to resent moving out of the way. Some glare or make unpleasant hand gestures. This is not something I wanted our guests to experience.
So we picked a Friday to play it safe. No football games. No track meets. October 25, the night before the closing day of the Keeneland Fall meet. The last race ran at 5:45. People could come straight away afterwards in their race garb.
I have never organized a fundraising party before, and I had no idea what was required. Thank goodness for Maker’s Mark event planning team: Natalie Stone, Valerie Netherton and Jen Jacoby! They were as comfortable with the intricacies of party planning as I am with a horse, which was a great relief to me. I also have a wonderful board who quickly formed an event committee.
So what did we hope to accomplish?
- Let people know that we exist.
- Show them what we do.
- Make friends.
- Get horses adopted.
- Make money, best-case scenario.
- Break even if not.
|Xin Xu Lin (left) and Electromagnetic (right) during the demo|
One board member, Louise Riggio, who is an experienced party giver and goer offered to design and produce the invitations. “They set the tone,” she said. Her invites were G O R G E O U S, printed on heavy brown card stock which gave them both a rustic feel yet class. Exactly what we hoped the party would be.
|Johnathan and team working in MMSC garage.|
|Arthur and Arthur (right and second right) and band|
Because I think of Thoroughbreds as a premier Kentucky product, I wanted Sips N’ Saddles to celebrate our commonwealth’s riches. Therefore in addition to Maker’s Mark and 46, we had such Kentucky elixirs as Ale Eight, and West Sixth Brewing amber and indian pale ales, and newly roasted freshly brewed coffee from Lexington Coffee Times. Jonathan’s Kentucky ambrosias of burgoo, fried grit cheese straws, pork sliders and more shared the spotlight with Kenny’s Cheeses (their Wheel of Awesome is aptly named! Utterly AWESOME!!! Try it!), Bluegrass Baking Company’s Julep Tulips and mini pecan tarts.
|Xin Xu Lin, 2010 Brazilian Horse of the Year, |
painted his interpretation of the Brazilian flag
What a party! The horses in the demonstrations were stars. Despite the gelid temperatures in the thirties (so much for the October weather) the tent was packed with people. The auctions went well Every bottle was dipped. The food vanished. Every gift bag left with a guest. At the closing, board member Walt Robinson asked party chair Mimi Porter and me to step on the dais so we could be acknowledged. I know that Mimi deserved every accolade. But I didn't. I had soooo much help!
|Walt Robertson introduces party chair Mimi porter on left and Susanna|