For as long as I’ve been party hopping, the Baton Rouge Eye Bank Auxiliary has been holding its “Day at the Races” fundraiser, so I can vouch for 20 years of this fun event benefiting the Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank, which provides donor tissues to area ophthalmologists for transplant.

More than 300 race fans boarded buses May 14 for the trip to the New Orleans Fair Grounds, where one race was dedicated to the auxiliary.

But betting on the ponies wasn’t the only way to win. Event co-chairwomen Rieta Reiser and Lee Caplan ensured there were lots of prizes up for grabs throughout the trip. Taking them home were Lynnette Frazer, two round-trip plane tickets to anywhere in the continental United States courtesy of Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport; Mary Guerin, $1,500 shopping spree at Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry; Bill Ragsdale, two-night stay at Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel; Hazel Myers, one-night stay and dinner for two at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel; Shelia Clark, one-night stay with cocktails and breakfast at Ducote-Williams House B&B; Annette Bullock, dinner for four at the Camelot Club; Ashley Hunt, “Eye of the Tiger” print by Jack Jaubert and framed by Vickie Sing; Jean Merchant, handmade stained-glass cross by Steve Wilson; Drewey Davidge, indoor brass lantern courtesy of Our Lady of the Lake Gift Shop; and Melissa Bardwell, landscape painting donated by Dottie Michelli.

Bus hostesses included Sandra Fox, Alida Casey, Ann Suire and Karen Allen — “Luck of the Irish”; Linda Michelli, Charlene Favre, Elaine Ellis, Shaune Berthelot, Margaret Rome and Marlene Colter -— “Leprechaun Limo”; Ginger Miller, Vivian Frey, Claudia McCall, Jamie Collier, Kate Privat and Nila Schwab — “Irish Eyes Are Smiling”; Judy Burk, Debbie Nault, Mary Herford and DiAnne Blouin — “Shamrock Shuttle”; Linda Dowden, Dusty Manson and Kathryn Champagne — “Five Leaf Clover”; and Melanie Johnson, J’on Blumberg, Janice Shreve, Caplan and Reiser — “Wild Irish Roses.”

Also assisting with the event was Wes Devillier.

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