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Kentucky Derby watch parties help raise money for Kansas City area charities

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People around the country tuned into the Kentucky Derby Saturday, celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The race came down to a photo finish after Mystic Dan won by just a hair over Sierra Leone and Forever Young.

It’s the first time in 28 years the Kentucky Derby was won by such a small lead.

People dressed up in derby attire and enjoyed a day full of derby themed activities before cheering on their favorite horses in what ended up being a very close race.

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“My dream has always been to go to the Kentucky Derby,” said Elise Bruns, who was watching the Kentucky Derby at Chicken N Pickle. “So I think this is the second best thing, to dress up and have some fun with friends.”

At Chicken N Pickle, the derby celebrations started early in the day.

“So we had our pickleball tournament this morning with brunch, mimosas, the whole thing,” said Andrew Louden, general manager at Chicken N Pickle in Overland Park. “People were dressed up playing pickleball. It was awesome to see.”

Guests took part in derby trivia, enjoyed themed drinks and other activities before watching the run for the roses with friends and family.

“Our Mint Julep is featuring Woodford Reserve, which we’ve partnered with, and we’re giving away a trip for two to visit the distillery and all expenses paid. So good luck to those lucky people that win it,” Louden said.

As part of the celebration, Chicken N Pickle’s Overland Park location also hosted a charity event for Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“This is such a fabulous event and it’s near and dear to our hearts. Our daughter Lucy here is s 6 years old and she’s a patients at Children’s Mercy. We’re down there on the regular very involved the hematology oncology clinic,” said Heidi Brenner. ‘We just couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to help out and also to enjoy the Kentucky Derby. what could be better? We are here with a lot of our horse friends too.”

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HopeKids Kansas City also held a derby watch party in the Crossroads. Guests were encouraged to dress up and cheer on their favorite horses while also giving back to a good cause.

“This is a fundraiser for Hope Kids Kansas City. We are an organization that provides ongoing events for children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said Executive Director of HopeKids Kansas City Abigail Swafford. “This is our third annual event and it helps us provide our programing of 300 events a year for these children.”

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The HopeKids event and Chicken N Pickle derby day watch party are just a few of the celebrations that took place Saturday in the Kansas City area.

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