Berea, Ky., 15 April 2014

It’s hard to believe, but Friday, May 2, will be the 11th time our community has gathered for our very own Derby Eve party.

Reservations are now open for the Gala on Derby Eve and can be made by calling 859-986-1500 or emailing Tickets are $100 and reservations should be made by April 25. The event is Friday, May 2, at EKU’s Keen Johnson Ballroom. Guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres beginning at 7:00 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:30. Live music and dancing will continue until 11:30.

This year’s Gala features complementary valet parking, hors d’oeuvres, cocktail spritzers, dinner, open bar, live music by Klassyc Tymes, dancing, and a commemorative Derby glass for each guest. Suggested attire is black-tie optional. All proceeds go to Hospice Care Plus.

The Gala on Derby Eve got its start in 2003, when a dedicated group of Richmond women launched The Spring Thing to raise funds for Hospice Care Plus’s Compassionate Care Center, then just a dream on paper. When the Spring Thing ended, a new committee formed to continue the tradition, which then became the Run for the Roses Derby Eve Benefit. In 2013, the name was changed once more to the Gala on Derby Eve.

But, thankfully, a party by any other name is still . . . a party.

This year’s Gala is at a new location: the Keen Johnson Ballroom at EKU. Organizers say changing locations periodically is a good way to keep the event fresh.

“Every venue brings with it its own character and feel,” says Shelley Ward, the chair of the Gala on Derby Eve Committee and director of development at Hospice Care Plus. “It’s always exciting to see what we can do to transform the space into a great Derby party.”

Regardless of setting, Ward says the “fun factor” never changes.

“You will never see as many smiles or hear as much laughter as you do at the Gala,” says Ward. “The guests truly seem to enjoy themselves. The live music and dancing are always a big hit. It’s just a chance to have a great time, for a great cause.”

Another change this year is a new perk: each guest will receive a complementary, commemorative Derby glass.

“We love the idea of sending each guest home with a piece of Derby history,” says Ward.

To learn more about the Gala on Derby Eve or to make your reservations, contact Shelley Ward at 859-986-1500 or