Grab your hats and place your bets – we’re off to the races! The Flag City Morning Rotary club will present its annual Kentucky Derby Gala May 4 at the Hancock Hotel. Attendees are encouraged to celebrate the occasion with derby themed attire, including colorful decorative hats for the ladies and bow ties and socks for the gentlemen (above, below). (Photos provided)

The Flag City Morning Rotary club will host the Kentucky Derby Gala from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the Hancock Hotel’s Blanchard Ballroom.

Tickets are $75 and may be purchased by contacting Rotarian Betsy Hackworth at 419-957-4896 or

Attendees can celebrate the 145th running of the horse-racing event with blackjack tables, games, raffles, a live auction, music, food prepared by Mancy’s Steakhouse, and appropriately themed beverages as they view the Churchill Downs race live.

Each guest will receive a free mint julep and a commemorative glass to take with them. Valet parking will be offered.

The evening’s entertainment will include music by DJ Joe Deuble from J.D. Jams, Janet Amid will provide astrological readings (attendees should have their time of birth), and Kevin Rettig will be the evening’s auctioneer. Keepsake Portraits will also provide a photo booth for guests to ham it up for the camera.

Guests are encouraged to dress in casual business attire or “derby themed attire.” Women are invited to wear colorful and decorative hats and men may choose to wear festive bow ties and socks. There is a hat contest for the ladies and a bow tie/sock contest for the men, with prizes for first place.

Featured live auction items include: four Columbus Blue Jackets tickets behind the penalty box with two hotel rooms for overnight accommodations; a golf membership to Hillcrest Golf Club, which includes three different golf courses; and the “hot mess” Rotarian basket with over $900 in gift cards, and more.

This year’s motto for Rotary International is “be the inspiration.” The money raised by the gala will be used for service projects focusing on elementary youth in the area.