Council planning a Derby event

ALBANY -- Kentucky Derby Day this year will mean a lot more than just a run for the roses to senior citizens in Southwest Georgia.

The SOWEGA Council on Aging will host its first "Juleps, Jockeys and Jazz" event on May 5 at Stonebridge Golf and Country Club. The fundraiser, which organizers plan to make an annual gathering, will help pay for programs and services provided citizens 60-over in 14 area counties served by the Council on Aging.

"We're still finalizing plans, but it's starting to come together," SOWEGA Council on Aging Development Director Izzie Sadler said recently. "Tickets just went on sale on our website, but we're still planning out our activities. There's a lot of excitement right now."

Part of the excitement has been generated by the addition of Virginia and Leland Burkart to the council's Juleps, Jockeys and Jazz planning committee. The Burkarts, avid Derby fans, have been hosting a party on the day of the big race for the past 37 years.

"This is not a new concept, but it's new to the Council on Aging," Sadler said. "That's why having Virginia and Leland help us with the planning is such a big deal. They've been doing this for a long time. And they've invited a lot of the regular guests at their parties to come to ours this year."

Guests at Juleps, Jockeys and Jazz will be encouraged to wear Derby attire, including big hats and sundresses for the ladies and bright colors and bow ties for the gentlemen. All will receive a complementary framed memory photo. Activities planned for the Derby-themed evening, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., include betting games, watching the race live, silent and live auctions, a hat parade and entertainment by the T. Marshall Jones Jazz Quartet.

Tickets, which are $75 per person, are available at www.sowegacoa.org (Event page) or at the council's 1105 Palmyra Ave. offices. Information is available at (229) 432-1124.

The SOWEGA Council on Aging fundraiser will benefit senior citizens in Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Mitchell, Miller, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth counties.