*Credit to: Stacey Henson, USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA*
As Justify, Good Magic, Enticed, Quip and the other horses saddle up Saturday, May 5, at the Kentucky Derby, a party will be rockin’ at Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library.
As the jockeys vie for a chance at $1.425 million in the Run for the Roses, party-goers at the Cape Coral museum will sip, nosh and compete for prizes during Derby Day festivities.
Proceeds will benefit upgrades and improvements at the 34,000-square-foot building in South Cape.
“We’re trying to make some money for the museum because it needs a great deal of help and needs to be fixed up,” said Events Coordinator Nancy Sloane.
Ralph Santillo, CEO and chairman of the museum’s board, said the museum will be launching a massive campaign, hoping to raise $3 million. They bought the property in September for $2 million, and it needs upgrades.
“We need all the help we can get,” he said. “We need the heavy hitters to come out and help.”
The renovations include facade work, electrical upgrades and expanding the restrooms.
“We are planning some different things,” he said. “We need to modernize a little bit, change lighting, heating and air conditioning.”
They need $275,000 to get started and then will need more for equipment. They hope to have the money available to start work in August when the museum traffic is slower.
The first upgrades are the restrooms and expanding the banquet center and mess hall, he said. The building can hold 200 people, but they hope to be able to seat 400 and open it up to community rentals.
“We want to actually make it a going business,” he said. “We get a lot of calls for special events.”
The board is pursuing other ways to raise funds, discussing the possibility of naming rights, such as attaching donor names to the 36 exhibits. Meanwhile, smaller fundraisers are helping with the effort.
Breakfast at the Museum is from 8 to 11 a .m. May 19. It includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, orange juice, coffee or tea for $10.
Sloane said she’s gone to derby parties all her life and wanted to bring the fun to the museum.
She said her favorites horses rarely win, but the party is the fun part anyway.
There will be four games themed to the derby, including trivia, and prizes for best hat and table decoration.
The museum staff also offers help with veterans benefits, addiction counseling, housing services and education counseling.
The museum, at 4820 Leonard St., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is by donation. (though not required)
What: Derby Day at the Southwest Florida Military Museum in Cape Coral features large screen TVs, silent auction, raffle and games with the theme for the 144th Running of the Roses. Prizes for best table decoration and best hat.
Where: Southwest Florida Military Museum, 4820 Leonard St., Cape Coral.
When: 3 p.m. May 5, dinner from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $40 per person/$300 per table of 8