They have 5 on it: the 5th annual #AlphaDerbyWeekend presented by Toyota, hosted by the Alphas of A
In the summer of 2014, the Alphas of Atlanta, a collective of members from the eight graduate chapters (based in Atlanta, East Point/College Park, Cobb County, Decatur, Riverdale, Duluth/Gwinnett County, Henry County, and Loganville-Conyers) take time to come together. In looking at the supplemental programming provided to support the respective chapter programs, they decide to embark on a journey in creating a signature event that can make a positive impact and "footprint" on as much of Metro-Atlanta as possible.
The result is the #AlphaDerbyWeekend; from its inaugural effort (in 2015) which draws 900 people to last year's 3400-plus attendee weekend extravaganza, this is clearly one of the "can't miss" events of the spring and beyond in Atlanta, as 1/3 of all attendees travel from outside the state of Georgia. When guests travel from cities such as (but not limited to) Birmingham, Charlotte, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Nashville, Memphis, and other parts of the country, including Las Vegas, Iowa, and even outside the United States, it's truly a special event.
And its landmark 5th year, the event, presented by its title sponsor, Toyota, provides even more.
"It all starts with the larger purpose", notes a spokesperson for the organization.
Proceeds from the Kentucky Derby themed event are donated to support the community-centered efforts of eight (yes, EIGHT) nonprofits throughout Metro-Atlanta, making this a unique and highly impacting endeavor. With at least $160K donated to organizations (click HERE for a listing) who conduct programs such as (but not limited to) male-mentoring, leadership development, college tours, ACT/SAT prep, along with serving a considerable number of potential first generation students, the cause clearly is beyond noteworthy.
And then there's the top-notch lineup.
Friday, May 3rd, is the kickoff party and concert hosted at their host hotel, the Grand Hyatt Buckhead. This ticketed affair starts with the Style Preview and Mixer hosted by the Miguel Wilson Fashion Experience (starting at 7pm), an opportunity for guests to get a look at the hottest styles both Derby-related and for the upcoming season (and year). This is a "bridge" to the actual kickoff party and concert (which takes place from 8pm-1am). Frank Ski returns as the guest DJ (building off his outstanding performance in 2018), and in building off the success of last year's event where Doug E. Fresh (with a surprise appearance from Greg Nice) is the headline artist (in 2018), the 2019 edition features full performances from classic hip-hop artists Big Daddy Kane and Chubb Rock, providing a fun and festive environment for all.
Saturday, May 4th, is the main event at the Georgia World Congress Center (GA Ballroom). Guests enjoy the indoor/outdoor top-notch setting complete with views of the Mercedes Benz Dome and Atlanta Skyline (from 3:30-8:30pm). The outdoor setting has a vibe all its own, complete with an outdoor cigar section (cigars may only be enjoyed outside), outdoor bars and related stations, and one of the two featured DJ's (DJ E Clazz and PNut) providing the soundtrack to your Saturday afternoon and early evening. With ample space in the main lobby, guests are able to network and relax, but in the main ballroom is where a sound array of events take place. Ranging from the silent auction, hat contest, and other pleasant surprises, all are able to enjoy an experience and setting beyond compare.
And this doesn't include the complimentary (yes, you read this correctly, complimentary) beverages provided at the bars/stations via their premier partner, Woodford Reserve (who is the official sponsor for the actual Kentucky Derby which takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY), in addition to the beyond the standard cash bar selections and stations for appetizers and other amenities. In fact, the partner is adding to the silent auction by auctioning their highly selective $1000 mint julep cup; this item is only available at the actual Kentucky Derby (as they only have 145 cups available), only adding to the experience.
One of the top Atlanta-based bands, Gritz and Jelly Butter, is slated to perform, and the actual race is shown in multiple monitors. An added feature is the group F.L.Y., the originators of the new-classic party track "Swag Surf", are scheduled to perform live (along with a special setup to make the experience event bigger). "This is another way to provide our patrons an enhanced experience like none other", adds their spokesperson.
That in and of itself is a lineup that no other organization of its kind is providing.
However, there's more.
Sunday, May 5th (from 11am-3pm), concludes with the highly popular Jazz Brunch (taking place at the host hotel, the Grand Hyatt Buckhead); since its addition in 2017 to the lineup, it is a sold out affair, including this year. The brunch features performances from acclaimed saxophonist Trey Daniels (who serves as the opening act for Anita Baker in 2018 and again this year) with his innovative "Trap Jazz" sounds, as well as a day-party experience hosted by Pretty Tammi the DJ. Add the exquisite all you can eat brunch complete with carving stations and selections like none other, and the signature bottomless mimosas (for those 21 and older), it is a great way to conclude the weekend.
Individual day tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday, as all VIP tickets (full weekend and Saturday only) and General Admission for the entire weekend (since the Sunday brunch is sold out) are sold out. To purchase your tickets, readers are highly encouraged to visit their website (click HERE to purchase tickets) for ticket information. Likewise, readers are encouraged to add their social media (Alphas of Atlanta on Facebook, @alphasofatlanta on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and @alpha_derby on Instagram) for any breaking news and updates, including their highly engaging #TalkDerbyToMe Q/A series (viewable on Facebook Live on Alphas of Atlanta).
From a conversation to its larger execution, the Alphas of Atlanta and all of its member chapters have a sincerity and focus in making this party with a purpose second to none. Given its resolve grounded in "Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind" combined with a focus on being "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All", this affair clearly is one that sets the standard in the city and beyond. With a historical lineage including figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., former mayor and ambassador Andrew Young, to contemporary figures including actors Hill Harper, Omari Hardwick, ESPN anchors Stan Verrett and Jay Harris (along with the late Stuart Scott), the Weather Channel's Dr. Marshall Shepherd and others, giving back in as impacting a way as possible is a key part of what the fraternity does.
Bringing the Kentucky Derby experience (and yes, the mint julep, the official beverage of the actual event, is yet another part of the larger day) to Atlanta is something the Alphas of Atlanta have and continue to do like none other. Even national outlets such as Sheen Magazine to media outlets in and around Atlanta (including but not limited to radio partner V103, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 91.9 WCLK Jazz Radio, and others), Chicago, Charlotte, and other cities are covering the event, with more media entities forthcoming.
It's clear there's nothing like being a part of the Winner's Circle, and this year, they clearly have "5 on it".