The Derby Festival started off a little early because of the religious holidays; unfortunately God did not know this, and the early spring weather was not pleasant for the first weekend.
The Festival’s They’re Off! Luncheon, sponsored by Norton Healthcare with support from Business First, was held in the grand ballroom of the Galt House as usual. The guest speaker was Sam Champion, the weather anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast news.
That evening the ballroom was the site of the 53rd Fillies Ball, sponsored by LG&E, assisted by Brown-Forman. They were celebrating all things Kentucky. Students at Oldham County High School created some of the decorations that included 30 beautifully painted horse figures.
Ball Chairman Glenda Thome wanted to recognize the best of the state and she did. Ball committee member Jude Elkins came up with the idea to have the students create the painted horses. Jude asked her friend, Tammy Passafiume, who is an advanced art teacher at Oldham High, to help.
Her students really got into the idea of helping kick off the festivities, and they produced wonderful works of art.
After cocktails, the crowd sat down for the opening ceremonies, the crowning of the 2011 Derby Festival Queen. The 2010 beautiful and talented reigning Queen Megan Imel presided over the opening.
The 2011 Derby Princesses were Caitlin Carter, Katie Huber, Trisha Maclin, Laura Don Oliver and Lauren Smith. They were accompanied by handmaidens Katey Weyland and Clarissa Louise Worthinton and pages Jan Cummings and Thomas Calli Meyer.
The princesses represent three of our Kentucky colleges and universities. They each will receive scholarships for their continuing education.
Fillies Preisdent Jenny Jacob spun the traditional wheel. It stopped on No. 2 and Trisha Maclin, of Marion, Ky., was named queen. Trisha is a senior majoring in English and political science at the University of Louisville. She will reign over the official events this year, accompanied by her court.
Her first official act was to confer the titles of Dame of the Derby Festival to Leslie Broecker and Merilyn Coslow, and Knight of the Derby Festival to Mitchell Rayman.
Her second official act was to have the first dance with Stock Yards Bank President James A. “Ja” Hillebrand, the 2011 Derby Festival chair.
After that, dinner was served and certainly had the Kentucky flavor with such local treats as Bibb lettuce with corn relish and sour mash vinaigrette, country ham, fried green tomatoes, beef fillet and roasted salmon, cheese grits, asparagus and corn muffins. There was more, but these were the Kentucky dishes. Brown-Forman wines accompanied the meal.
For dessert, there was the Fillies Tart, the most divine pecan and chocolate in a rich bourbon flavored filling baked in a shortbread cup and garnished with caramel mousse and bourbon. It was to die for! Next time skip dinner and order two of these.
Rose Ann Langford was responsible for the hostesses, Heady Arell, Wendy Dotson, Mary Jo Gohmann, Barbara Isbell, Nancy Seitz, Carroll DeHart, Jeanne Ferguson, Marjorie Harbst, Roberta McWhorter and LouEllen Williams. They had the delightful job of carrying baskets of Louisville’s own Modjeska candies around to each table.
The tables were lovely in black and white patterned cloths with beautiful sculptured bronze horses on plinths. They were surrounded by short crystal vases each holding a big white hydrangea, a gift to be taken home by each guests. There were Rebecca Ruth bourbon balls on the table, and the favors were elegant glossy black fleur-de-lis bottle corks.
Lynda Lambert Lannert and George Lindsay presided over the evening. Mayor Fischer welcomed the crowd and Michael Bolden sang “My Old Kentucky Home.” Michael Berry, president and CEO of the Derby Festival, had remarks and then the invocation.
With that, the Endless Summer Band began to play, and the dance floor was busy all night. Everyone loves the band, and they have played for the last few years.
The charming president of Western Kentucky University, Gary Randsdell, was there with his charming wife and Ruth and Jim Onkst. The men were friends when they attended Durrett High School.
Norma and Charlie Oberst, Jean Weyland, Charlotte and Bob Korfhage, Wendy and Tom Schiifano, Vicki and Gary Hillerich, Mary and Kurt Broecker, Pat and Penn Broecker, Marty Bybee, Sally and Pat Galla, Caren and Steve Weyland, were among the gala crowd.
photos by CARLA SUE BROECKER | contributing photographer
About the Author (Author Profile)
A fixture in Louisville society, Carla Sue Broecker has been writing her weekly column for more than two decades.