- Maria Menounos (NBC's Access Hollywood/Today Show)
- Mallory Ervin (Miss Kentucky)
- Jean Cruguet (1977 Triple Crown Winner)
- Laura Kirkpatrick (CW's "America's New Top Model" Season 13)
- Jennifer An (CW's "America's New Top Model" Season 13)
- Rachel Zalis (TV Presenter/Jounalist)
- Michael Blowen (Founder/President, Old Friends)
- Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo
- Judge Sadiqa Reynolds
- Chef Kathy Cary (Executive Chef at Lilly's in Louisville)
- Courtney Clark (Executive Chef of Cake Nouveau of Ann Arbor, features on Food Newtwork Challenges, and TLC's Ultimate Cake Off)
- Holly Hazard (CIO of The Humane Society of the United States)
The red carpet started late due to the traffic from the Pegasus Parade, but that did not detour the stars from showing off their outfits for the press. Approximately 70 patrons had dinner served on the rooftop overlooking the river and the sunset. Dinner was vegetarian and the wine was local. The eco-conscious theme was consistent from minimal animal cruelty food options, to the biodegradable plate settings.
At 8pm, the diners moved down to the 4th floor to meet the cocktail goers. There was a large dance floor with pastel colored globes hanging from the ceiling, white leather couches strewn about, and pink and blue uplighting on the white brick walls. Tito's Handmade Vodka had a specialty Ferdinand Martini with pineapple juice and Chambord. Masterson's had a variety of vegetarian hor d'oeuvres. However, my favorite part came from Columbus, OH based Purely Simple Raw who had a raw bar with marinated mushrooms stuffed with cashew cheese (I'm dairy-free and it was an amazing vegan option). Also, Tea Haus came from Ann Arbor, Michigan with a perfectly blended Derby Tea; mint, lavender, and strawberry...so subtle and refreshing.
Photoboothlive.com donated a large portrait area with every variety of hats, umbrellas, and fun things to pose with. The photos were streamed in black and white to a huge screen next to the dance floor. We had a little too much fun posing with inflatable cats, shark hats, and water guns. The band, Commonwealth Blues, was amazing, and no one was shy on the dance floor.
With all the unique details, beautiful decor, and celebrities it was hard to imagine that the Ball was only conceptualized 5 months ago over lunch between two sisters Aimee Wulfeck and Kim Boyle. As the story goes, they were shocked when they realized that there wasn't one Derby Ball that raised money for the actual horses that run the Derby. They wanted to help "Old Friends" who rescues and retires Thoroughbreds who have finished racing and breeding. So they contacted Beth Doane, an eco-conscious fashion designer from California, and they all began planning. Five months later you have the first annual Ferdinand's Ball. I personally, have never heard a story of such determined young (and I mean they looked young) ladies helping such a needed and wonderful cause. Thoroughbred owner and trainer, Nicolas Newman, told me it takes about $2300 per horse per year for the farm to function. Currently, "Old Friends" has over 70 horses in Georgetown, KY, and new farm recently opened near Saratoga, NY. Last night alone raised $30,000 for "Old Friends"...so that could have saved 13 horses for one year.
Beth Doane, Aimee Wulfeck, Kim Boyle - Ferdinand's Ball Founders Photo Courtesy of Think Photographics (Beth's dress is made from Pea Silk and plant based dyes and is from a 100 percenteco-conscious bran, Purity)
Jennifer An & Laura Kirkpatrick lounging in the VIP section
Maggie moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in Dec. 2009. She has also lived in London, Chicago, and Louisiana. Find out more about her business Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC and her private counseling practice.