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Fundraiser to benefit foundation

(May 2, 2014) The Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation will host its second annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser this Saturday from 3-7 p.m. at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City.

The family-friendly event raises money for the Believe In Tomorrow House By The Sea on 66th Street, which provides critically ill children and their families a much-needed retreat to the beach, away from the everyday stresses of a child’s illness.

For $30 — or $10 for children — attendees at the family-friendly affair will enjoy a smorgasbord of food from steamed shrimp to a carving station and can catch the race on a big screen TV. For children, there will be a magic show, games, crafts and a live racehorse on site.

Last year, the fundraiser started small, with around 100 attendees raising money for the Children’s House.

“The big thing is to make sure everybody has fun, because if they have fun, it’ll keep growing,” said Wayne Littleton, coordinator for the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation Beach Respite Housing Program.

“I believe in the theory ‘start small and make ‘em grow,’” he said.

This year, those who come out to Hooper’s for the event will enjoy a spread of salad, crab soup, steamed shrimp, crab balls, a carving station, pulled pork and desserts, which include a chocolate fountain.

While most don’t wear full derby day attire for the casual event, many don hats to compete in the “Best Hat” contest, which awards a $50 gift card to the winner.

“People got very creative last year. It was kind of neat to see some of the hats people designed,” Littleton said.

For kids, there will be a racehorse on site — a big hit last year. There will also be clown and magic shows, children’s games and crafts.

Family-friendly band Hot Butter Nuggets will perform an eclectic variety of rockabilly, swing and jazz throughout the fundraiser.

The Kentucky Derby fundraiser started at Hooper’s last year as another way to raise funds for the Children’s House by the Sea, which houses dozens of families in Ocean City each summer.

“It went great,” Littleton said. “Our goal was to make it a family-friendly event.”

The fundraiser rides on the coattails of the Spring Bikes to the Beach motorcycle rally, meaning the outdoor tent is already set up for the event. All Hooper’s has to do is bring out a big screen TV for attendees to watch the race.

Though there isn’t betting in the traditional sense, adults can choose on a horse in the Kentucky Derby for a chance to win tickets, which go toward prizes including Orioles tickets, an at-home meal cooked by a chef and a iPad, Littleton said.

“For $30 you can come out and have a lot of fun,” he said. And with the spread provided by Hooper’s, “you should not leave hungry — that’s for sure.”

Tickets to Believe in Tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby fundraiser cost $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Children’s tickets cost $10. Food is included in the cost, though mint juleps will run an additional charge.

Call Littleton at 410-723-2842 to reserve a ticket or for more information on the event. Visit www.believeintomorrow.org/housing_bythesea.html to learn more about the Children’s House by the Sea.

Clara Vaughn, Ocean City Todayhttps://www.oceancity.com/OceanCityToday
Clara discovered journalism as a freelance reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Eastern Shore News, in 2008. She spent her summers reporting from the courtroom to the marsh as a general assignment reporter for the News while finishing her undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. In 2011, she earned a Virginia Press Association Award for her health, science and environment writing package. After a stint in press relations, Clara returned to school, earning a Master of Journalism degree from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism in 2012. She traveled overseas and landed as a reporter and copy editor at Ocean City Today in May of 2013.

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