Weekend: Kick off Derby week at ‘Melrose Downs’

The Kentucky Derby spawns a number of events around the country during the week that leads up to the big race. This year the Hancock County Agency on Aging will kick off Derby week by conducting the Derby Gala, presented by Lehtomaa Funeral Home, on Saturday, April 26.
The third annual event is being held at “Melrose Downs,” 339 E. Melrose Ave.
Prepare to celebrate the traditions of the Kentucky Derby. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to name your own horse, the racing action or the Derby cuisine.
“The fastest good time this side of the Mason-Dixon line” will begin with doors opening at 6 p.m. The heavy hors d’oeuvre stations will feature Derby delectables by Bistro on Main.
The highlight of the event begins at 7 p.m. with the mood of live horse racing action, with opportunities to “bet” on pre-recorded video horse races projected on a large screen.
Prior to the Derby Gala you have the opportunity to become a horse owner and name your own horse for $25. At the Gala, the race announcer will “call” each video horse race using the names of the horses that were purchased, and your name and the horse’s name will also appear in the event program. Please contact Tracy Dunn via email at tdunn@hancockseniors.org or at 419-423-8496, ext. 101, with your creative horse names.
Guests are welcome to dress in “derby-themed attire.” Ladies are invited to wear colorful and decorative hats and may choose to participate in a derby hat promenade. The event is called a gala for a reason: live entertainment, cigar depot, mint juleps and Kentucky traditional dishes.
The master of ceremonies for the evening will be Tim Mattis, director of bands at Findlay High School.
There will be live and silent auctions with Dave Thomas as the creative auctioneer for the evening. Featured auction items include culinary delights; dinner and wine-tasting experiences with transportation provided; a five- day stay in a house on the shore of Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey, Mich.; complete spa packages; a Henry Golden Boy Rifle; concert tickets; and scenic biplane experiences.
Tickets for the Derby Gala are $50 each. Tables for eight can be reserved for an additional $20. Tickets are available at the Hancock County Agency on Aging, 339 E. Melrose Ave., by calling 419-423-8496; and on the Agency on Aging website at www.hancockseniors.org. Proceeds benefit the Hancock County Agency on Aging programs and services.

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