For nearly two decades, the Mudd sisters â€“ Janet, Debbie, Leslie, Jolene and Ann â€“ have played host to one of the hottest parties held the day of the Kentucky Derby Festivalâ€™s Great Steamboat Race. Nine years ago, however, the annual soiree grew much bigger as it became focused on more than a simple occasion to celebrate.
With a mother diagnosed with Alzheimerâ€™s, the Mudd sisters turned their outdoor affair into a fundraiser for a cure. Thus, the â€œGreat Steamboat Race Partyâ€ set sail, and, in its ninth year, will take place Wednesday, May 1, at KingFish Restaurant in Jeffersonville, Ind.
The charity event will benefit the Alzheimerâ€™s Association, the worldâ€™s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimerâ€™s care, support and research. Since 2005, the Great Steamboat Race Party has raised more than $100,000 for the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimerâ€™s Association.
March of last year, the Mudd sistersâ€™ mother, Trudy Mudd, lost a 23-year battle with Alzheimerâ€™s, a disease that impacts nearly 80,000 Kentuckians and 120,000 Indiana residents. Determined more than ever to find a cure, the Mudd sisters are eager to continuing fighting the disease with the help of their party, while kicking off one of the most exciting times in the city: Derby week.
â€“ Ashley Anderson, Staff Writer, The Voice-TribuneÂ
How has the Great Steamboat Race Party grown since it first began?
This was a party that my sister Leslie and I had for a number of years. It was an invitation-only event and wasnâ€™t an Alzheimerâ€™s event until nine years ago. … My sister Debbie suggested we make it for Alzheimerâ€™s, and thatâ€™s when (the Great Steamboat Race Party) began.
What was it like witnessing a loved one living with Alzheimerâ€™s?
(My mom) probably had Alzheimerâ€™s for 24 years, and thatâ€™s just a ridiculous number of years. You rarely hear anyone having it more than 10 years. … One in 68 people can get Alzheimerâ€™s, but it touches the lives of so many more people (indirectly).
What does the event mean to you, especially now since your momâ€™s passing?
It was near and dear to our hearts to turn this party into a fundraiser and try to help find a cure. To date, weâ€™ve earned $130,000.
Why should people attend this yearâ€™s party?
(KingFish) is big and open, and you can see who all is there. KingFish takes good care of us. … Everybody (who) comes theyâ€™re just in a great mood. Itâ€™s kind of the start of your Derby weekend, and people start asking me about it way ahead of time. We have people who just love to come every year. Itâ€™s all ages too, anywhere from 21 to 80 something.
The Great Steamboat Race Party will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at KingFish Restaurant, 601 W. Riverside Drive. Attendees will receive a riverfront view of the annual Great Steamboat Race, heavy hors dâ€™oeuvres, a cash bar, plus a performance by Thumper and the Plaid Rabbits. DJ Glenn Smith will provide dance music. The party is a 21 and over event and guests MUST bring ID. Cost is a donation of $35 per person in advance, $30 prepaid for groups of five or more, or $40 at the door. Dress code is track attire. For more information or to make reservations, call 502.451.4266.