Some have their finest millinery picked out months ahead of time. Others wait for last minute inspiration to choose the hats that set the tone for one of the most talked about soirees of the spring—the Barrington Children’s Charities’ annual Kentucky Derby Party.
| “Run entirely by volunteers, the nonprofit organization donates funds raised to support and address the social, emotional, physical, and educational needs of children within the District 220 area. ” |
This year’s event will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, at Sweet Caroline’s Bar-N-Que in Hoffman Estates. Popular traditions will continue, including a “best dressed” contest for those with the best Derby attire and hats along with the classic mint julep toast.
However, as event co-chair Jessica Hoffmann of Barrington Hills explains, the greatest thing about the Kentucky Derby Party is the cause it supports.
“Barrington Children’s Charities provide life resources to many school-aged children in need within District 220. I love that this organization gives back in a tangible way to the youth in its own community,” she says. “The Kentucky Derby Party is a fantastic annual fundraiser working towards making those resources a reality. It’s an honor to help that cause.”
Laura Fitch of Barrington, the other co-chair, agrees. “Children are our future,” she says. “If we can help pave a smoother path for them to reach their goals in life, then that is an amazing thing to be a part of. As a mother of two boys I can understand the many challenges parents face on a day to day basis. The struggle is real, and it’s in our community.”
Run entirely by volunteers, the nonprofit organization donates funds raised to support and address the social, emotional, physical, and educational needs of children within the District 220 area. Beneficiaries are chosen based on need with a two-fold mission.
The first part of that mission is to heighten public awareness about children’s issues and foster solutions. The second part is raising money to fund projects that benefit needy children of District 220 and make those solutions possible.
“For me, just to have a positive impact on one child is so rewarding,” explains Fitch. “But with Barrington Children’s Charities, the ability is there to have a positive impact on hundreds of children. Now that is truly a blessing to be a part of.”
The event typically draws about 200 guests but organizers are hoping to increase that to 250 people. With a 50/50 raffle, a guest artist creating a one-of-a-kind piece of work, and a DJ for post-Derby dancing, it is sure to be a night to remember. Barrington Children’s Charities will have the whole restaurant for the event, along with a tented outdoor space and the race shown on more than 30 television monitors.
Neither Hoffmann or Fitch has chosen their signature Derby looks yet, but they are thinking about it. Fitch says the hat always comes first.
“I’m a bit of a procrastinator in the fashion department so I typically wait until there is excitement in the air for all the possible Derby contenders,” she explains. “I like to visit Lexington, Kentucky in April where there is amazing horse racing and prep races for the Derby. When in Lexington, I love to people watch and see all the Southern styles and visit the fabulous shops with all the latest Derby fashions. That’s where I typically find my inspiration for my Derby outfit.”
For tickets and details, visit