Louisville, Ky. – Hermitage Farm Charities, LLC, Bridgeman Foods, and Republic Bank, the 2014 winning bidders of the 2014 State Fair Grand Champion Ham, are thrilled to announce that the prized ham will be served during cocktail hour at the Hermitage Grand Gala. The winning dry-cured American country ham was originally bid on by Ryan Bridgeman, son of Junior Bridgeman, and Steve Wilson at the Country Ham Breakfast and Charity Auction. Steve Trager, Chairman and CEO of Republic Bank, then offered to match their bid. The bid was accepted, doubling the value of the donation to $2 million going to the charities of the winner’s choice. This year’s charitable beneficiaries of the Hermitage Grand Gala include The West End School, Kentucky School of Art, the Cardinal Covenant Scholarship at the University of Louisville, Kosair Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Hospital Foundation, and The University of Louisville Autism Center. The partnership between the two was a natural fit to celebrate the tradition of Derby with the ham.
“At Republic Bank, we are very proud of our ongoing philanthropic commitment to this community—as we’ve said many times “what we make here stays here”. On behalf of the Republic Bank Foundation, we have been delighted to partner with Hermitage Farms/Manna, Inc. in our collective $2 million purchase of the Kentucky State Fair’s grand champion ham. We look forward to serving this prized ham with our partners at the Hermitage Grand Gala on Derby Eve,” said Trager.
Guests will enjoy the attached custom dinner menu that includes fresh entrees grilled on site at the farm. The Hermitage Grand Gala, hosted by Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown and Junior and Doris Bridgeman, will take place on Friday, May 1 on the grounds of the historic Hermitage Farm, one of Kentucky’s oldest Thoroughbred breeding farms. The tented, black tie party will welcome guests including top names in entertainment, sports, politics, and business. This year’s performers include Ne-Yo, Darius Rucker and DJ Cassidy. Martin Lawrence will emcee the party, and guests include Nick and Vanessa Lachey, Angela Bassett, and David Arquette.