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May News - "Derby Day on Main" News Article


The Greeneville Sun, May 8, 2017

'A Good Time For A Good Cause'

By Cameron Judd, Staff Writer

A steady rain in the early evening Saturday did little to daunt a group of jauntily dressed Kentucky Derby fans from convening on the terrace of the General Morgan Inn to place a few bets on their favorite horses — all of it legal, and aimed at being “A Good Time, For A Good Cause.”

The event was Derby Day on Main, a fundraising festivity hosted by the Laughlin Health Care Foundation in support of the Feeding the Children of Greeneville and Greene County program.  The “good time for a good cause” phrase was the official motto of the popular event.

Results of the Kentucky Derby-themed event are expected to be available sometime today, an organizer said.

Coinciding with the running of the Kentucky Derby, it was held from 4 to 8 p.m. on the tent-covered rooftop terrace of the General Morgan Inn.

In keeping with Derby tradition, lots of dressing-up and hat-wearing was done, ranging from subdued to purposefully silly.

Ladies’ hats done up as highly imaginative artistic creations, many with an equestrian theme, filled the terrace like blossoms in a flower bed.

Greeneville’s Kristin Girton won, by applause-based acclamation, the “Best Hat” prize for her understated but whimsical headwear.

Berkeley and Jane Bell won the “Best Dressed” competition.

Beth Boniface won for “Best Dressed Woman,” while Dr. Stephen Flohr and Corey Shipley tied for “Best Dressed Man.”

Men in attendance sported a variety of headwear, ranging from cowboy hats through fedoras, with some remaining hatless.  Bow ties were abundant, along with more traditional sport coats and ties.

Providing spirited jazz and big-band standards that lent a nightclub ambiance to the $100-per-ticket occasion was the Tusculum College Jazz Band, directed by David Price.  Greeneville’s Amy Saxonmeyer was among vocalists who performed with the band.

A father-son emcee team, Bill and Patrick Brown, worked the microphone, with occasional contributions from key team members in the effort and special guests.

Among the latter was Rhonda Chafin, executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee since 1993.  Chafin, wearing her own colorful hat, lent her spirited support to the evening’s efforts by outlining the value of the projects Derby Day supports.

Watching the running of the world-famous Kentucky Derby on a big screen at one end of the terrace tent was the capstone event of the evening, and also the main mechanism by which money was raised for the Feeding the Children of Greeneville and Greene County program, which provides meals for at-risk children during breaks and months when schools are not in session.

Standing on one side of the terrace tent was a long table bearing a line of upturned derby hats sitting in front of placards bearing names and images of horses in the race, along with their histories and odds of victory.

“Betting” slips, available at $5 apiece at the venue entrance, could be signed and placed in the derby corresponding to the individual horse. At the close, a name would be drawn from derby hat associated with the winner, and that individual would have a $100 donation made to Feeding the Children in his or her name.

Fred Laughters, retired from the U.S. Postal Service, spent a good deal of time studying the placards regarding the competing thoroughbreds before placing his own betting slip into one of the upturned derbies.  Asked how he made his decision, he said it was primarily a matter of letting instinct and impulse guide him.

“You just look at the names and see which one you feel like might win,” he said.

An additional boost to the fundraising was a sum generated through the auction of a case of specially made wine, which sold for $275.

Raising even more was the auction of a package of tickets to the Country Music Association awards ceremonies and activities.  Donated for the auction by Justin Jeffers of Greeneville, the tickets sold for $2,300.

In 2016, Derby Day funds proved 19,500 meals in the summer food program, according to information provided by event sponsors.  During the holiday season, narly 500 meals were provided to families through the program.

In advance publicity for Derby Day that Laughlin Health Care Foundation Executive Director Betty Weemes provided, she wrote:  “We became aware of the summer program to support Greene County children who were receiving breakfast, lunch and snacks at school following our involvement with volunteers in the western part of Greene County to identify ‘at risk’ children during the Christmas and New Year’s school recess.  For the first two years, Laughlin Health Care Foundation has provided for children identified as needing food support.”

Funding for the school recess food program is “the direct mission of Derby Day on Main,” Weemes said.

Those who did not attend Derby Day on Main may still support the Feeding the Children of Greeneville and Greene County program by texting the word FEED to 243-725, resulting in a donation.

Donations can also be made at www.bidpal.net/feed or by calling the Laughlin Health Care Foundation at 787-5117.


Photo:  Greeneville’s Kristin Gerton’s hat at the Derby Day On Main event was smaller than many others, but still voted Best Hat due to its whimsical look and equestrian theme.     [Sun Photo By Cameron Judd]    



Photo:  Jane and Berkeley Bell were the winners of the Best Dressed Couple.     [Laughlin Foundation Event File Photo]


Photo:  Beth Boniface won the Best Dressed Woman honors at the Derby Day weekend event at the General Morgan Inn.     [Sun Photo By Cameron Judd]


Photo:  The vote-by-applause was so evenly split at Derby Day On Main that Corey Shipley, left, and Dr. Stephen Flohr, right, had to share the Best Dressed Man award at the Derby Day on Main event Saturday.     [Sun Photo By Cameron Judd]


Photo:  Tracy Solomon took advantage of the Tusculum College Jazz Band’s music during the Derby Day On Main fundraiser to step out onto the dance floor with Theresa Searles, mother of his wife, Patty.     [Sun Photo By Cameron Judd]


Photo:  The Tusculum College Jazz Band provided music that included jazz and big band standards. Various vocalists sang with the musicians, directed by David Price.     [Sun Photo By Cameron Judd]