The RCC Educational Foundation proudly announces that the 14th annual Preakness Party, scheduled for Saturday, May 19 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, will be held at historic “Ben Lomond,” one of Essex County’s most architecturally significant homes.   The c. 1730 house is located 10 miles south of Tappahannock in Dunnsville.

Judge Muscoe Garnett and his wife Sarah Gatewood Garnett purchased Ben Lomond in 1838 and made extensive renovations.  The Garnett family occupied the property for several generations, and today it is owned by Zorine and Craig Shirley, New York Times best-selling author and noted Ronald Reagan biographer.

RCC’s President Dr. Elizabeth Crowther commented, “We are thrilled that the Shirleys are hosting the Preakness Party at this special property.  Ben Lomond epitomizes the rich history and landmark architecture of our region, which is a draw for our Preakness guests.”

The event starts at 3:00 pm when guests enjoy cuisine from the area’s top restaurants, including Eckhard’s, Indian Creek Yacht & Country Club, Java Jacks, Lancaster Tavern, Over the Top Catering and Event Planning, RCC Culinary Arts Program, and Tommy’s among others.  Generals Ridge Winery, Good Luck Cellars, Ingleside Winery, and Ardent Craft Ales will be offering their selections.  Also, domestic beers, a full bar, and non-alcoholic beverages will be on hand for guests.

The best hat contest during the festivities brings out the competitive spirit in many of the guests who don enormous, colorful hats.

While enjoying the culinary offerings, guests can bid on an array of silent auction items from jewelry and home goods, to sporting equipment, and spa packages.  This year’s live auction features a dozen amazing experiences, including tickets to the musical Hamilton at the Kennedy Center with an overnight stay at the Ritz Carlton and vacations in the Turks and Caicos, Nag’s Head, the Finger Lakes, and Lake Tahoe among other places.  The event culminates with the Preakness Stakes shown live on large screens in the event tent.

President Crowther comments, “The restaurants donate their cuisine at no cost to support the RCC Educational Foundation, and other area businesses step up to sponsor the event. The Preakness Party has raised almost $800,000 over the years.  These funds support the RCC scholarship program, which provided over $400,000 in awards to students this academic year, our professional development grants for faculty and staff to attend conferences or take classes that may not be in their department budgets, as well as other program needs not funded through state allocations. The Preakness is a fun event for a very worthy cause!”

The all-inclusive ticket is $100 per person, and 50% of the cost is tax deductible. For tickets, contact the RCC Educational Foundation at 804-333-6707 or visit: http://www. rappahannock.edu/foundation.