With spring just around the corner, Louisvilleâ€™s thoughts naturally begin turning to the Kentucky Derby and all its pageantry.
But, as stellar as that event is, there is another specatular event that heralds springâ€™s arrival.
The event is the annual Speed Ball, which will be celebrating its 39th birthday this year, and as usual it will feature Louisvilleâ€™s most beautiful people and fashions.
This yearâ€™s Speed Ball will mark a time of change for the annual gala, held at The Speed Art Museum.
With a massive $44 million renovation planned, which will span three years, this will be the last time guests will celebrate in the venerable marble walled Beaux-Arts Gallery until at least 2016.
But, the renovation and closing hasnâ€™t dampened anyoneâ€™s spirits about this yearâ€™s gala event.
This yearâ€™s Chairperson Christie Wilson and her co-chairman, Ron Wolz, have been working with their tireless committee to present a truly memorable evening.
I caught up with Christie to find out what patrons can expect at this yearâ€™s Speed Ball.
Lori Kommor: This is the last Ball held in the Museumâ€™s glorious space until the completion of the new renovation, how will this yearâ€™s Speed Ball be more special?
Christie Wilson: This is a very special year for the ball, being the last in the current space and our dÃ©cor committee, led by Amy Cimba of Bittners has worked hard to make it a memorable and dramatic night.
We have added a specialty bar from our Heaven Hill Distillery sponsor and special signature cocktail named by our presenting sponsor Lenihan Sothebyâ€™s.
We have also expanded our popular lounge, which is sponsored by The Glenview Trust Company and as always the beautiful museum and world-class art will make perfect setting for a truly memorable night.
LK: What are some of the different tickets available to those interested in attending?
CW: We have two options: The dinner benefactor tickets available for $450 a ticket which include cocktails in the Glenview Trust Lounge, then dinner in the Speedâ€™s beautiful galleries and ending with dancing the night away in the Sculpture Court.
The second option is the Friends of the Speed ticket where guests arrive at 9 p.m. for cocktails, dancing and desserts.
The Friends tickets are $150. Tickets are almost sold out and limited to first come first serve basis.
LK: Thereâ€™s a lot of buzz about the entertainment this year, can you tell us what all the excitement is about?
CW: There should be a lot of buzz about the band this year! They are amazing!
The band is Indigo from Chicago and they are sure to keep all patrons on the dance floor all night! They are very hip with a swing touch. A great party band for sure!
CW: Definitely its elegance â€“ first the setting is unrivaled. The amazing architecture, coupled with the collection of the world famous art, which includes the exhibitions from Renoir to Chagall, is spectacular.
After the art, the extravagant floral arrangements, the amazing designer ball gowns and the fabulous band. Truly, this is the most amazing party in Louisville!
LK: What is your favorite memory of the Speed Ball?
CW: That is so difficult to answer, but I donâ€™t think I could ever forget my first time attending the Speed Ball.
I was overwhelmed with the beauty everywhere! It was the reason I got involved with the Speed Ball Committee. I knew it took a very talented group to make the event happen.
LK: Can you share what Susan Hershberg from Wiltshire Pantry has planned for dinner?
CW: Susan has created a wonderful, local, seasonal dinner and it is outstanding!
Her special dessert is the perfect ending to a perfect evening.