May 19 RCC Preakness Party Features Horses, Hats, and Brighter Futures

Bugler William Gill

Bugler William Gill calls guests together for the viewing of last year’s Preakness Stakes.

The 14th annual RCC Educational Foundation Preakness Party fundraiser celebrates the second race of the Triple Crown and raises funds for RCC students and college programs.  The funds support the RCC scholarship program, among other college initiatives, which provided over $400,000 in awards to students this academic year.

The magic starts a few days before the Preakness Stakes race day when the tent goes up at the party venue, which this year is at the c. 1730 landmark home Ben Lomond in Essex County.

An army of talented volunteers moves in to transform the tent into an elegant space with flowers; racing inspired props and white tablecloths.  Large screen television screens are installed to show a live feed of the May 19 Preakness Stakes, and table stations are set-up for area restaurants, wineries, and a craft brewery to showcase their cuisine and beverages during the event.

The volunteers have worked for months on selecting one-of-kind items and experiences for the silent and live auctions.  Some of the live auction experiences include: tickets to Hamilton at the Kennedy Center with an overnight stay at the Ritz Carlton; a Nag’s Head beach house vacation; an oyster roast for 20 people; a Shenandoah River tube ride for four with a Big Bobber cooler to take along; and a week in the Caribbean.

At 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 19, the event opens as guests in their colorful race day hats walk across Ben Lomond’s front lawn and are greeted by two magnificent thoroughbred horses before entering the tent.  Food, beverages, music, and the silent and live auctions follow, culminating with the Preakness Stakes viewing just after 6:00 pm.

Candice Yohnke, a Preakness Party scholarship recipient from Mathews County, sums up the impact of the party best when she writes, “The Preakness Party Scholarship is a tremendous aid to me as a first-generation, independent student.  I am a first-year student at RCC focusing on a Health/STEM associate degree. I plan on transferring to a four-year university after I graduate to pursue a bachelors degree in chemistry. Without the generosity of this scholarship, students such as myself would have a higher difficulty pursuing further education.”

The 14th annual Preakness Party is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm.   Ben Lomond is located 10 miles south of Tappahannock in Dunnsville.  The all-inclusive ticket is $100 per person, and 50% of the cost is tax deductible. For tickets, contact the RCC Educational Foundation at 804-333-6707.