It was the 6th annual Ron’s run for the Roses, a fundraiser held each year to raise money to fight pancreatic cancer and to remember late Travelers exec, Ron Foley.
Foley died of the disease and his then widow, Barbara Foley began the fundraiser as a picnic in her backyard that grew into a major event the Farmington valley equestrian center.
“We are glad to do this,” said Folly Farm owner, Bob Patricelli, who also co-founded Women’s Health USA Inc., and Evolution Benefits. “It’s a great cause.”
And in between those mint juleps, banks of roses, the actual derby broadcast, live music and derby-style food including mac n’ cheese with shrimp, ham and sweet potato stew, there were hats, lots of them, many with special meaning.
“I used to collect horses and this was part of my collection,” said Sheryl Haraghey whose hat included a theme-appropriate small toy horse sitting on top of her hot pink straw hat.
The event includes a “best hat” contest but this year, the usual winner in the women’s category, Dee Romejko, had to just say no.
“I have won for the past two years,” said Romejko, whose extravagant turquoise and coral creation looked extra special because it was coordinated with her husband, Bob’s, turquoise and coral Derby-wear. “I told the judging committee that this year it should go to someone else.”
“I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer two years ago and blue was his favorite color,” explained Rhia Michaud, an Avon resident who was at the event for the first time. “So I knew my hat had to be shades of blue,” she said about her pictures hat that featured an array of blue flowers and feathers. “I know if he were here, he would like this party and I know he would like my hat.”
For more pictures go here.