The Enterprise Chamber of Commerce is encouraging Wiregrass residents to dust off their derby hats and ties for a “Lucky in Kentucky” fundraiser to benefit the Enterprise Public Library.

Scheduled for Thursday, May 2, at the Enterprise Country Club, the fundraiser will welcome guests for an evening of food, fellowship and fun centered on a Kentucky Derby “Run for the Roses” theme. The event is being organized by this year’s Leadership Coffee County class as their main service project and, according to Chamber President Erin Grantham, will provide unique opportunities for those in attendance.

“We always want to come up with new and different events that will be exciting, and since the Kentucky Derby will be May 4 -- and since that’s about the time we typically like to have the service projects -- it’s a cool prelude to the derby,” Grantham said. “The Country Club in Enterprise is always very helpful; they’re great chamber partners and have a great space that holds a lot of people. Since the Kentucky Derby is so classy, we couldn’t think of a better place to hold the event than the Country Club.”

Beginning at 6 p.m., the fundraiser will offer Southern-staple hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails, music, dancing, games, a photo booth, and live and silent auctions. Grantham said one of the most exciting parts of the event line-up will be a derby hat and bowtie contest.

“We’ll have a hat and a bow tie contest for women and men as part of the event,” Grantham said. “There’s no additional cost to enter the contest but we would love people to be aware of it ahead of time so they can go ahead and get prepared for the contest. The hats and ties can be fun, classy, bought or handmade -- whatever the contestants want them to be. The contest will start at 7:30, so we’ll just need participants to register before then.”

All funds raised during the event will go directly to the Enterprise Public Library.

Library Director Shelia Harris, who was part of this year’s Leadership Coffee County class, said she was humbled by her class’s decision to focus their mandatory service project on helping the library.

“Being in the leadership class, they’ve got it broken down into sections where we go through agriculture, politics, education and more, and as we took the education tours I got to visit Enterprise High School and Coppinville and the Career Center,” Harris said. “After those visits I think I gave (my class) more insight on some of the things I’d like to happen here at the library and how old our furniture is here, how impressive all the schools in Enterprise City Schools are, and I think I shared that I’d like new furniture -- we don’t have grants I can apply for to put towards purchasing furniture. When the discussion came up about picking a charity and choosing how to raise the funds for it, my classmates chose the library, and it’s very humbling because I didn’t mean for them to. I’m not from here so I’m trying to learn about Enterprise and Coffee County, but being around these wonderful people who chose the library is so humbling.”

Harris said that though Leadership Coffee County’s goal is to raise $10,000, she has no personal goals for the event -- in fact, all of her goals have already been met.

“With this, I don’t have a set goal,” Harris said. “What’s already met my expectations is the fact that the city, the residents and patrons here want to be involved and want to attend events. It may sound cheesy, but the fact that the city is getting behind it and people are asking about it, for me, it’s amazing we have a citywide event going on. I always say that the library is all about helping the people here, and it’s all about supporting all the people, so what better way to support the people than to have everybody support the library like this?”

Harris extended special thanks to the members of the Leadership Coffee County Class, the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, the Enterprise Country Club, her staff and the community for their support in this endeavor. She also thanked the Chamber for selecting her for Leadership Coffee County, as she feels she’s gained invaluable experience through the class.

“In doing my job, writing these grants, this has been the best training to prepare me,” Harris said. “I’m getting an up-close, eye-opening view of the things that affect my job -- I went to Montgomery and got to meet Senator Holley and Representative Marques, and having that opportunity to stand in front of them was great because I have to put their names on my grants. I’ve met so many people from different areas of business in this class, so it’s an experience I couldn’t have had myself. We come from all walks of life and I’ve been able to take advice from all of them. I feel like they’re my friends for life now -- they’re such amazing people.”

Tickets for the fundraiser are available online at the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce website, www.EnterpriseAlabama.com, and at the Chamber office. Tickets will cost $25 per person if purchased in advance before May 1 and will cost $35 per person at the door.

For more information, contact the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce at 334-347-0581.

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