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Go "fourth" to the Winner's Circle

On May 4-6, 2018, the Alphas of Atlanta, the collective of the eight graduate chapters who serve the Metro-Atlanta area (with chapters based in Atlanta, East Point-College Park, Riverdale, Decatur, Marietta, Duluth, Stockbridge, and Loganville-Conyers), hosted their 4th annual #AlphaDerbyWeekend. The Kentucky Derby themed event provides a sophisticated setting with a lineup second to none, all for the purpose of raising funds to support the community-centered initiatives of eight metro-area nonprofits the chapters work with. Since its start in 2015 with 900 attendees, the growth of the audience (1500 in 2016 and 2600 in 2017) along with the schedule of events (from a 2-day event its first 2 years to its current format of a 3-day affair since 2017) makes it one of the "must-attend" events of the spring, let alone the city, region, and beyond. And this year is no exception, as there are multiple reasons to keep this event as part of your must-do events.

Make that more than 3200 reasons.

With nearly 1000 people in attendance for the Friday kickoff party at the Grand Hyatt-Buckhead is hosted by V103's Frank Ski (who actually DJ's during a portion of the evening). The audience is truly energized and engaged with the full-concert featuring hip-hop icon Doug E. Fresh; as an added bonus, the "World's Greatest Entertainer" is joined on-stage by special guest artist Greg Nice (of Nice and Smooth), which adds to the positive and festive energy, vibe, and spirit of the evening and sets the tone for the entire weekend (click HERE to view video).

Saturday's main event (on May 5th) takes place at the Georgia Ballroom at the GA World Congress Center. The 1800 in attendance marks the largest single day audience in the event's history. Even more historic is the wide-range of sponsors, ranging from (but not limited to) the title sponsor, Woodford Reserve (who happens to be the official sponsor of the actual Kentucky Derby), Mercedes Benz of Buckhead (who provides those in attendance the opportunity to win an E300W for a weekend test drive), a silent auction, and the all-important hat contest. In fact, the audience has such a wonderful time, it can be argued their version of "Swag-Surfing" is the biggest one on record (click HERE to view video).

Sunday's brunch (May 6th) draws nearly 500 people to conclude their weekend on a positive note. The ambiance is accentuated by the culinary pleasantries of the all-you-can-eat buffet, along with the smooth with just enough of an "edge" musical musings of saxophonist Trey Daniels (click HERE to view video). And then for those who are 21 and older, the famous "bottomless mimosas" (for those 21 and older) are promptly served at 12:30pm.

A great slate of events is one thing, but supporting multiple great causes is what separates this event from others, going above and beyond the concept of a party with a purpose, as noted in interviews with the CW Atlanta's Focus Atlanta (click HERE to view the interview) and CBS46 (click HERE to view the interivew). With a goal of donating $50,000 as a result of the weekend endeavor, it clearly is an epic event with the potential to make a positive impact in the community.

"We are sincerely grateful for the support of our attendees, sponsors, (host) hotel staff, media partners (V103 and The Atlanta Voice), and everyone who is a part of this weekend", notes co-chairman Michael Jones. Co-chair Robert Cunningham adds, "To have about 1/3 of our guests travel from outside of Atlanta (including, but not limited to cities such as Birmingham, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus (GA), Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Memphis, New York, Savannah, and Washington, DC), it truly makes this a destination weekend for a number of people".

Truly, the Winner's Circle is more than a moniker; it exemplifies the sincere efforts of the entire committee and their resolve in making things better than when they left them, especially when it comes to the community. With the event as the backdrop, the fraternal organization established on December 4, 1906 with a legacy of leadership and service via the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, former Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young, to area innovators including Dr. Marshall Shepherd (from the Weather Channel's "Weather Geeks"), Jay Bailey (of HG Russell), actors Omari Hardwick and Hill Harper, their reach across the fields of education, the arts, business, and more is clearly and tangibly felt.

To make sure not to miss out on their 5th edition of the #AlphaDerbyWeekend, it may be a good idea to mark your calendars for May 3-5, 2019.

In the meantime, it is evident the Alphas of Atlanta and their member chapters are more than grounded in the principles of "Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind" merged with the mindset of "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All".

Clearly, now is their time to "go fourth" to do the work that is needed in the community and beyond.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Photo credit to Phrozen Memories, Push Radio/@taters4art, Andrew Snorton, and the Alphas of Atlanta.

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