Kentucky Derby red carpet soiree raises thousands for local charity

PLYMOUTH, MA-Amid fancy hats and mint juleps on a sunny afternoon in Plymouth, the staff at Alden Park in Colony Place were busy laying out the red carpet for guests to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. 

Described by General Manager Brian Gratton as the “biggest event of the year to see and be seen”, the annual afternoon featured a debutante’s parade, live band and impressive silent auction. Celebrating their 11th year, Alden Park carefully hand picks a different beneficiary every year that benefits children immediately. This year’s lucky charity? The YMCA of Old Colony Plymouth.

 “Everything we do within our mission is to make sure that nobody is turned away due to their inability to pay,” explains Cristina Wilson, Executive Director at the Old Colony YMCA of Plymouth. “Opportunities like this and fundraisers like this allow us to make that impact.”

While the YMCA is well known for its famous tune, the organization’s real-life impact is significant. From hosting before & after programs in all 8 elementary schools in Plymouth, sponsoring scholarships to their popular summer camp at Camp Clark, offering water safety initiatives for every 2nd grader in Plymouth at no cost, and becoming the home of the Livestrong Cancer Survivor program for those in remission to regain strength. Serving children ages 6 months-100 years old, Wilson says the opportunity to offer complimentary access to a wide range of services can be bittersweet. “The bitter part is that people have these challenges. Life is hard right now, the economy is tough. But then I get to be the one in my staff to say, the Y is here”.

What’s the vibe?: A red carpet VIP experience indulging guests in southern-charm flare and seemingly endless opportunities to win niche prizes like a $10,000 diamond hidden in a glass of rose.

Miss out on this year’s event? No worries-the staff at Alden Park are already planning for you to be able to catch the next one. “It takes about a year to put together, so I’ll be starting next year’s tomorrow,” laughed Gratton. 

To learn more about or make a donation to The Old Colony YMCA of Plymouth, visit

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