Vail Derby Party returns for third year |

Vail Derby Party returns for third year

This year's Vail Kentucky Derby Day Party is Saturday at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and Balata in Edwards, and is the perfect reason to wear wonderful hats and seersucker suits. It's a benefit for the Children's Garden of Learning.
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If You Go

What: Kentucky Derby Party

When: 3-6 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Sonnenalp Golf Club and Balata, Edwards

Tickets: $65 per person in advance, $75 at the door

Information: It’s a benefit for the Children’s Garden of Learning. Tickets get you bourbon, beer and wine, southern appetizers, buffet, entertainment and games. The 141st Run for the Roses will be broadcast on a huge screen. Buy advance tickets at

Saturday’s weather will be spectacular because God, the King of Kings, loves the Sport of Kings — the Kentucky Derby.

The Vail Kentucky Derby Party takes place Saturday, which is not a coincidence. It’s a benefit for the Children’s Garden of Learning’s outreach program, the Learning Initiative. This serves home-based day care providers with needed tools and training to improve their services. As for the Derby Party, it’s the third annual event, but this year will be the first time it’s held at the Sonnenalp Club.

“That gives us lots and lots of lawn for lawn games,” said organizer Dana Addis.

Addis, besides being in charge of this Kentucky Derby party, is also president of the Children’s Garden of Learning board of directors. She’s from North Carolina, and you should be willing to pay her $10 an hour just to listen to her speak in that soft Southern lilt.

“I love a Southern party,” Addis said.

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That was reason enough to throw a Kentucky Derby party.

It helped that the Children’s Garden folks were looking for a fundraiser when nothing much else was happening in town. May springs to mind in the Vail Valley.

“It has worked out quite well. It has doubled every year, and we expect it to grow again this year. That’s one of the reasons we’re so excited to be doing it at the Sonnenalp Club. It’s a delightful indoor/outdoor venue.”

And it really is spring, even here.

“That means you get to dress up and wear pastels and seersucker. Who gets to do that around here?” Addis said.

Best of all, besides the bourbon, is that your money really does go to charity.

“The idea is to build a sustainable outreach program and support families and children who are not enrolled in a traditional preschool environment,” said Kathy Brendza, director of the Children’s Garden of Learning.

Proper attire

To attend a Derby Party, you need to be properly attired.

Perch Vail is selling Derby-worthy clothing, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Children’s Garden of Learning. Actually, the main sale was Friday, but stroll in and say, in your best Southern lilt, “Sugah, isn’t this lovely!” and they’ll sell it to you.

Blitz in Vail is selling hats, essential equipment for any Derby occasion.

Valley Girl and Kiwi will put you in a darlin’ lil’ ol’ dress.

Gentlemen wear seersucker, or something that looks springy and Southern. Remember gents, you are merely one of her wardrobe accessories.

Place your bets

The $65 gets you libations, food, bluegrass music by Bear Antler and you can watch the Derby on a big screen, while you enjoy your libations.

10th Mountain Whiskey will be pouring the bourbon, and the Vail Brewing Company is bringing the beer.

The Sonnenalp Club — the golf course in Edwards — will even be entertaining guests with bluegrass music. Bear Antler played for Gov. Hickenlooper’s inauguration, and they’re playing Saturday.

You can make a gentlemanly wager, because it’s the Kentucky Derby, that’s why!

As for placing your bets, Addis is sticking with the early favorite, American Pharaoh. She might have the winner. She points out that trainer Bob Baffert has two stallions competing Saturday, and American Pharoah has won his last four outings. Well, ma’am, we hope it’s a lock.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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