SUMMIT, NJ – The unique day of the year when elaborate headwear and Mint Juleps are all the rage will serve as the thematic inspiration when The Connection hosts its Kentucky Derby Party at exactly at the same time as the actual "Run for the Roses" at Churchill Downs occurs - Saturday, May 6, from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Canoe Brook Country Club.

All proceeds from the event will support The Connection’s Scholarship Fund, which insures that everyone can participate and feel welcome at The Connection. The Festivities will include dinner and drinks, a silent auction, betting board raffle, DJ, and Photo booth.

The 143nd Kentucky Derby -- "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" -- will be broadcast on two big screens in the club's Bassett Ballroom. To purchase tickets and for further information, visit

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Auction items are scheduled to include:

  • St Lucia trip to St James Club Morgan Bay
  • Bruno Mars Concert
  • Diamond earrings
  • Private Chef experience 
  • Tour of the UN with Lunch in Delegates Dining Room
  • Tour of Google NYC Headquarters
  • Museum of Natural History Art Safari

The winning auction bidder need not be present at the event.

The Kentucky Derby Party, led by an Event Committee of dedicated volunteers led by Chairwoman Erika Melchiorre, sees all proceeds directly benefit The Connection’s Scholarship Fund which exists to insure that everyone can participate in the programs regardless of their economic circumstance.

“Every day at The Connection countless individuals participate in programs and services which improve the quality of their lives,"  said Wendy Graeb, Executive Director at The Connection. "A child with special needs learning to swim, practicing yoga or spending time socializing with her peers. A newcomer to our country improving his English to become more self-sufficient and engaged in our community. A woman recovering from cancer receiving the resources and support she needs in her journey toward healing.”

The impact is significant, as Graeb noted that, “In 2016, the Scholarship Fund distributed $275,000 in scholarship assistance to 500 individuals in Connection programs.”

The Connection is a human service organization which provides a variety of programs and activities that are open to everyone. Serving 5,000 individuals each year, The Connection is well known for its aquatics, fitness, child care and recreation programs.  Classes are offered for all ages, and are filled with girls and boys as young as six months to senior citizens in their nineties. In addition The Connection meets the needs of many different constituencies not reached by other agencies.

Programs include English as a Second Language, Pathways, a program for women with breast and gynecological cancer, special needs swimming and recreation for adults and children, after school enrichment and therapeutic fitness programs.

To RSVP, visit or call 908-273-4242.