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United Way's Inaugural 'Juleps And Jockeys' Brought The Kentucky Derby To Oxford

The Kentucky Derby is much more than just a horse race; it’s an experience. The name of the event is synonymous with big hats, fancy dresses, suits, cocktails and more. The horse race almost becomes secondary to the all-day affair that is the Kentucky Derby. United Way of Oxford aimed to bring the feel of the Derby to Oxford with their inaugural “Juleps and Jockeys” event this past Saturday, hosted by Oak Hill Stables. 
“Oxford didn’t have a Kentucky Derby party for the community. We wanted to create an event that brought awareness to all the different programs funded through United Way and give the community the chance to come together for a fun event,” said Kurt Brammett, executive director of United Way. “We had a great turnout. The weather was perfect. It was a beautiful venue for a Kentucky Derby party with beautiful horses all around.”
The event brought the Oxford community together to raise funds for United Way and all of the programs that it supports. While they are still in the process of totaling the amount raised on Saturday, Brammett is eager to see the impact the funds will have on the Lafayette and Oxford communities.
“The good thing about United Way is that if you gave funding to every worthy program in the Lafayette/Oxford community, you’d go broke,” he said. “There are so many different agencies that do so many wonderful programs, but by giving to the United Way, you get to touch so many different programs. If you’ve got just $1 to give… if you give it to United Way, it helps you hit so many agencies and programs.” 
Money was raised through live and silent auctions throughout the day, including a bid for an all-inclusive trip to the Keeneland race track in Lexington, Kentucky. Five couples bid on the trip and won with a $25,000 bid.
“The package includes a private owner’s box, access to the Paddock, hotel rooms, a VIP Bourbon Distillery tour, a VIP private tour of Ashford Farms and seats at the famous and exclusive FASIQ TIPTON October sale of thoroughbreds,” said Kathy Williams, associate director of United Way. 
Having funded programs such as Leap Frog, Boys & Girls Club, Meals on Wheels, Family Crisis services, Doors of Hope, and many more around the Oxford area, United Way wants to provide as much aid as they can by spreading donations all around town.
“Sometimes people hear United Way, they think it’s a national organization. We pay our dues to be under the United Way, but 99 cents of every dollar stays here in the community,” Brammett said. “Proceeds from Saturday will go to worthwhile community programs throughout the Lafayette area.” 
After a positive reception and a good time had by all, United Way is looking forward to making Juleps And Jockeys an annual event moving forward. While nothing is decided and a board meeting will soon take place, Brammett hopes to see Juleps and Jockeys continue in the following years. 
“Word-of-mouth is going to be great, and I think that’s where the growth will come from. It’s one thing to hear about something from an organization, but when you hear it from your friends and neighbors, that causes other people to want to join in on the fun, and that’s what we wanted,” Brammett said. “I think it’ll be the perfect chance to build on it and have it become that signature event we hoped it would.”

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com
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