Celebrating the Run for the Roses, Southport style
FAIRFIELD — Nyquist ran to victory at the Run for the Roses in Kentucky, but there was a local winner on Derby Day as well — the Pequot Library.
The library’s 7th annual Derby Day fundraiser drew hundreds of supporters despite Saturday’s misty weather curtailing most of the tailgating on the Great Lawn, and attendees still celebated in style.
“We’re not just a stuffy old library,” said librarian Kimberley Cuthbert-Holmes. “We do fun things, too.”
Kentruck Bourbon was flowing, fine food was plentiful, and money raised by the gathering benefited one of Southport’s favorite places.
“It’s just a fun, easy party and it kicks off the warm season around here,” said Jane Michener, who came up with the idea eight years ago with her husband, Graham.
“At that time we’d thrown many a Derby party in Manhattan in our cramped one-bedroom apartment,” said Graham Michener, who is secretary of the library’s board of trustees. “When we moved out to Southport … and started getting involved with the library, we suggested a Derby Day as a fundraiser — and as a friend raiser.”
“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “It has grown each and every year since 2009 and we hope the tradition will continue … It’s a fun way to celebration a little Americana up north.”
Cinch of Fairfield catered Southern-style fare, but many visitors brought their own — everything from shrimp cocktail to foie gras, with wine, whiskey and good spirits filling the large reception hall.
“It’s a great mix of people, and it’s very fun and exciting to see the community’s hats,” said Megan Kelly, referencing the time-honored traditions associated with the 142nd Run for the Roses in the Bluegrass State.
“In spite of this weather it’s great,” said Janet Garrison. “We have our own little Louisville here in Southport.”
Along with the food and friendship, a silent auction featuring a range of donations, as well as a 50-50 raffle for a chance to pick the winner among the 20 horses that ran in Saturday’s race.
“Come rain or come shine, it’s one of the best parties in Fairfield,” said Caroline Crawford, special events coordinator for the library. “People love to come and get dressed up, (and) it’s a great fundraiser.”
The traditional horseshoe of vintage vehicles circled the lawn out front, but most everybody carried their decorations, food and drink into the library to escape the showers — except one group.
“It’s a great event,” said Sandra Funk.
“It’s a way to draw people here to see really fun sports,” said Adair Heitmann, director of communications for the library. “And I love seeing how all the men and women are dressed.”