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Annual Down & Derby event raises $125,000 for local charities
down and derby 2022
From left, Tom Burgess, Lisa Burgess and Dr. Michael Hogan.

Between a sea of fabulous hats, dancing guests and fantastic food, the Rotary Club of Lanier-Forsyth was able to raise a gross amount of $125,000 for local nonprofits at the annual Down & Derby event.

According to President-Elect Carter Patterson, approximately 500 attendees participated in the silent auction, shot pellet guns at the rifle range and watched the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7.

The event was held at Dr. Michael Hogan’s house, a retired orthopedic surgeon, and net proceeds will benefit local charities such as Bald Ridge Lodge, CASA, Mentor Me, Jesse’s House, BADGE and Family Promise.

Lisa Burgess, event coordinator, said “nobody wanted [the event] to end” on Saturday.

“I think it was a really great day,” Burgess said. “We’re ready for the next year.”

“Each year, it gets better and better,” she said. “It’s definitely the best yearly event for the county. It’s the event you don’t want to miss.”

Burgess, who has coordinated the event for many years, said she’s always happy to see “repeat guests,” as well as new faces.

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down and derby 2022
President-Elect Carter Patterson takes a picture of guests at the Down & Derby event on Saturday, May 7.

Each year, she said the event grows in attendees and sponsors, and she hopes it continues to do so in the future.

“We can always hold more [guests],” Burgess said. “The more the merrier.”

Burgess explained that in 2020, the rotary club had to cancel the Down & Derby event. In the past two years, the club has worked hard to create a “bigger and better” event that will make up for lost time and lost funding for charities.

“We all have fun and … a good time, but the bottom line is that we do it so that we can help support the community,” Burgess said.

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down and derby 2022
A guest poses with a handmade hat.

Burgess gave kudos to members of the rotary club, volunteers and sponsors of the event, stating that the event could not have happened without them.

Since it was a derby party, mint juleps were a must, and Legends Distillery happily sponsored the drinks, bourbon bar and vodka. Other sponsors, such as Funky Mountain Flowers, Beverage Mart and First Redeemer Church made sure that the event was looking great.

While Burgess and the rotary club have yet to debrief from this year’s event, Burgess said she’s looking forward to planning the Down & Derby event in 2023.