If you happened to drive to Folly Farm in Simsbury Saturday for the annual “Ron’s Run for the Roses,” it was not your imagination — the tent was bigger.
Bigger because what started as a backyard picnic eight years ago, turned into a record-breaking crowd of more than 400 this year for an event that uses Kentucky Derby Day to raise money to fight pancreatic cancer.
“We are thrilled,” said Barbara Foley, who, with friends began the annual event in her backyard shortly after her husband, the late Travelers exec Ron Foley, died from the disease in 2005. Proceeds from the event go to the Ron Foley Foundation and are used for research and financial assistance to help for victims and their families.
“Ron would say ‘you are embarrassing me’ if he saw all this,” said Foley, now remarried, as she looked around the crowded tent full of women in exotic Derby day hats and men in seersucker suits. “But he’d be glad it’s a party,” she said, “and all the good the proceeds will do.”
In between mint juleps and appetizers, guests were all about those hats. And once again, Dee Romejko showed the rest of the crowd what a winner looks like.
“Made it myself,” she said about the lime green and turquoise flowered picture hat she wore. Romejko has won “best hat” awards year after year and this was no exception. Again she took home the “best hat” prize.
Also an award winner was Diane Abate, whose canary yellow cloche, made from a glossy yellow paper bag and purchased in Mystic, was deemed another crowd favorite.
Hartford Hospital president and CEO Jeffrey Flaks was honorary chair and sported his own hat for the event. Emcee duties were handled by Fox CT/WTIC meteorologist Joe Furey.
For more pictures go here.