As a young girl, Kate Pierson kept a scrapbook of the Triple Crown races, longing to one day attend the Kentucky Derby. But, the member of iconic band, the B-52s, has still yet to witness the first Saturday in May from the viewpoint of Churchill Downsâ€™historic racetrack.
However, on May 4, Pierson will finally receive her long-awaited wish to experience the fastest two minutes in sports when she and her fellow B-52 bandmates visit Louisville for a special performance at the annual Julep Ball. â€œItâ€™s always been a dream of mine to attend the Derby,â€ Pierson said. â€œWe played just before the Derby a couple years ago … and really enjoyed Louisville.â€
Pierson and the B-52s will headline The 2013 Julep Ball, held May 3 at the KFC Yum! Center, an all-new location for the yearly fundraising party. With new event coordinator Michael Neumann at the helm, The Julep Ball will expand its level of excitement and entertainment typically brought to the pre-Derby bash with the B-52s concert, along with several other unique surprises.
â€œThere are very few party bands that you just hear their names and think thatâ€™s going to be fun,â€ said Neumann, associate director for special projects in the Office of Development at the UofL Health Sciences Center. â€œ(The B-52s) were our first choice, and they fortunately were available (for TheÂ Julep Ball).â€
From playing chart-topping hits â€œLove Shackâ€ and â€œRoamâ€ to recent tracks on the B-52sâ€™ â€œFunplexâ€ album, the group is known to create an electric ambiance during performances, lending to their reputation as â€œThe Worldâ€™s Greatest Party Band.â€ â€œOur band, we all get along, we make each other laugh, we write songs collectively, so itâ€™s really equally shared, and, to me, when we jam together and write together itâ€™s like a family,â€ Pierson said of the bandâ€™s
chemistry on stage.
To enhance the high-energy, social atmosphere of The Julep Ball, the dress code for the traditionally black-tie event will become more relaxed this year, as attendees are encouraged to arrive straight from the track in cocktail attire. â€œMy hope is that people will go straight from the Oaks to (the gala),â€ Neumann said. â€œNice cocktail dresses or summer dresses. Guys are wearing jackets and ties.â€
The Julep Ball will also feature a red carpet entrance, graced by local and national business leaders, horse industry professionals and celebrities from sports, music, cinema and television. Currently scheduled to attend are â€œBig Brotherâ€ contestants Janelle Pierzina, Mike â€œBoogieâ€ Malin, Kara Monaco, Frank Eudy and Louisvilleâ€™s own Wil Heuser. Other well-known names should be confirmed closer to the event.
In addition to the star-studded lineup, The Julep Ball will include a multi-course seated dinner catered by Center Plate, served at 8 p.m., followed by a live auction offering Bourbon experiences, a special Atlantic Coast Conference package in honor of UofLâ€™s upcoming move to the ACC and a New York getaway package, among other spectacular items. The gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour featuring Brown-Forman products and multiple open specialty bars. Complimentary valet parking will also be provided for guests.
While the enchanting evening is certainly a call for celebration, The Julep Ballâ€™s purpose reaches much farther. Each year, proceeds benefit the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville to support the clinicians, researchers and patients of the facility. As part of the regionâ€™s leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available inÂ non-teaching settings.
â€œI think (The Julep Ball has) done two things. I think, No. 1, the money that it raises is used to help our patient resource center as well as supporting our research,â€ said Dr. Donald Miller, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. â€œThe other thing it does, it calls attention to what our scientists and doctors are doing.â€ During the ball, a moment is taken to honor the scientists, doctors and patients at the forefrontÂ of cancer treatment.
A portion of event proceeds will go specifically toward the Harriett B. Porter Endowment to support the health disparities in underserved communities of greater Louisville. The gala will also help support the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center, which provides a peaceful environment for patients and their loved ones to learn, relax and heal emotionally, while receiving the services they need to achieve the best possible experience.
â€œItâ€™s a great event, but I think it â€“ more than most of the others â€“ is focused on a cause, and itâ€™s designed to help our patients,â€ Miller said.
With all thatâ€™s in store for the 2013 Julep Ball, plus the important cause itâ€™s backing, you wonâ€™t want to miss one of the most popular premier pre-Derby parties in town. Tickets are already about halfway sold out, according to Neumann. The full eveningâ€™s entertainment costs $500 per person or $150 per person for dance-only tickets. â€œItâ€™s going to be a fun time, and I think weâ€™ll rock the house,â€ Pierson said. â€œSo, rip your black ties off and let your freak flags fly!â€
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.julepball.org.
Contact writer Ashley Anderson at email@example.com, 502.498.2051.