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Year 4 and going for more: the Alphas of Atlanta and the #AlphaDerbyWeekend

May 1-2, 2015.

This is when the Alphas of Atlanta, the collective of the eight (8) graduate chapters who serve the community (i.e. Atlanta, East Point-College Park, Riverdale, Marietta-Cobb County, Decatur, Duluth-Gwinnett County, Stockbridge-Henry County, and Loganville-Conyers), launch an event full of pomp and circumstance, but with the bigger purpose of lending support to area nonprofits the chapters work with to make an impact in the community. Through their support of these nonprofits (click HERE to view), they're able to provide access to resources ranging from mentoring programs, college tours, and scholarship opportunities. As a result, nearly 900 people attend the inaugural #AlphaDerbyWeekend.

From a simply stated purpose and passion to provide a mature setting with a Kentucky Derby theme, the event is clearly one of the largest events of the spring and beyond. Subsequent editions draw 1500 patrons (2016), and with the addition of the Sunday brunch in 2017, nearly 2600 are in attendance. Even more important is the fact that $120,000 is raised during the first three years of the event; these funds are provided to augment the efforts in working with elementary, middle, and high school students, which gives the term "a party with a purpose" an even stronger meaning.

And now the 2018 edition is here (May 4-6, 2018), and it's primed to make an even stronger statement and impact.

The kickoff affair on May 4th takes place at the host hotel, the Grand Hyatt Buckhead. This ticketed event (from 7pm-1am) provides a mature setting for adults to meet, greet, network, and enjoy the sounds of V103's Frank Ski (who is serving as the host and DJ) and more. However, what makes this kickoff event even bigger is the presence of hip-hop icon Doug E. Fresh, as he'll perform a full concert with the legendary Get Fresh Crew. The "old-school" feel provides all with an amazing outing to get the weekend off to a great start.

Saturday's centerpiece (May 5th) takes place at the Georgia Ballroom at the Georgia World Congress Center from 3:30-8:30pm. The venue provides the indoor-outdoor feel for the audience to interact and fully embrace the Kentucky Derby themed experience. Complete with the silent auction, limited vendors, multiple screens to watch the race, the sound of DJ E-Clazz and DJ P-Nut, it clearly builds off the atmosphere and vibe from its previous years (which take place at the City Club of Buckhead). For the cigar aficionados, Brotherhood Cigars is present and accounted for to provide the "cigar-experience", and the highly popular hat contest (voting and participation is online, so click HERE for details) makes the day even more impressive. And even Mercedes Benz of Buckhead is making its presence felt with a drawing ($10 per opportunity) to win a weekend drive in 2018 e300W.

Actually, the added impressive nature of the event is from their title sponsor, Woodford Reserve. Not only are they the official sponsor of the actual Kentucky Derby, but their presence as the title sponsor includes multiple bars/stations (on Saturday) where patrons of all levels are able to enjoy (with a ticket) a complimentary mint julep and other beverages to accentuate the experience in a responsible manner.

The Sunday brunch at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead (on May 6th) from 11am-3pm concludes the weekend. The sounds of jazz saxophonist Trey Daniels (whose presence in the industry includes performances with Lionel Ritchie, Lalah Hathaway, and other artists) provides a relaxed and festive vibe, and the full-buffet (with multiple culinary options) augments the experience. And with their focus on "operating in excellence", promptly at 12:30pm (for those who are 21 and older), the bottomless mimosas are served until the conclusion of the event.

Having a strong weekend itinerary truly makes this a key destination benefit event of the spring and beyond. Nearly 1/3 of those attending travel from cities and states (and even countries) such as (but not limited to) Birmingham, Charlotte, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, Houston, and even as far as Iowa, Oklahoma, and the Bahamas. Likewise, cities in Georgia such as (but not limited to) Athens, Macon, Warner-Robbins, Albany, Savannah, and Columbus are well-represented.

"We are truly excited about this year's event, as we are with every year", notes co-chair Robert Cunningham. And co-chair Michael Jones adds, "This is a major undertaking, but well-worth it. When we look at how this can truly impact our communities...we do this for the kids".

Coverage from their media sponsors V103 FM and The Atlanta Voice, as well as other outlets such as (but not limited to) Focus Atlanta via the CW Atlanta (click HERE to view), Push Radio, No Filter Fridays, Fiyah Entertainment, BInfluenced, the Socialite by Night, 108 Praise, 7 Flavors of Jazz, WDRB (Charlotte, NC), and others, are captivated by the passion and purpose of the members. With a mission grounded in being "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All" combined with "Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind", the members of the committee and fraternity at large are walking in the steps of their founding members (since the fraternity's establishment on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University), as well as their highly esteemed members ranging from former Mayor of Atlanta and Ambassador Andrew Young, former Mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson, former sports journalist Stuart Scott, actor Omari Hardwick, HG Russell's and community advocate Jay Bailey, and even its most famous member, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In fact, CBS46 is featuring their efforts on their May 4th broadcast (during the 4pm news segment/edition).

There are limited tickets available for Friday and Saturday, and the Sunday brunch is sold out. For ticket purchases, readers are encouraged to visit their website (click HERE for ticket purchases).

A great weekend, a great purpose, and a great time is what the #AlphaDerbyWeekend is all about.

The bigger question is #WYBAD and join them in the Winner's Circle.

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