Carousel Derby takes off for Pirate Toy Fund
Event held in public, donations surpass $15,000 goal
The first in-person fundraiser since the COVID shutdown exceeded all expectations for the Pirate Toy Fund. The Carousel Derby collected $17,202 in an event held at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester.
“We were so grateful we could hold an event in public,” said Otto Harnishfeger, executive director. “So many nonprofits can only hold virtual events. We took all precautions possible and our friends at the Strong Museum made it possible.”
Since 2017, the Carousel Derby has coincided with the running of the Kentucky Derby. However, instead of an actual horse race, the jockeys in this derby ride toy horses on a carousel for two hours. Due to COVID restrictions, the jockeys had to remain masked and stayed 6 feet apart on the carousel.
“All the jockeys were game for getting on the horses, having fun and raising money to help kids,” Harnishfeger said.
Money raised will help purchase toys for children in need. Last year, the Pirate Toy Fund supplied more than 33,000 toys through 72 agencies in the Rochester area.
Eleven celebrity jockeys volunteered to participate and collect donations online: defending champion Adam Schneider, Upstate Breaker; Jason DiBiase, Rochester Pest Pro; Alan Laird, Irondequoit Police chief; Amanda Ashley, singer/songwriter; state Sen. Joe Robach, R-56th District; Uncle Phil, famous Rochester usher; Rich Ide, Ide Honda; Todd Baxter, Monroe County sheriff; Pete Kennedy, The Mayor in the Morning 100.5FM; Will Jackson, Rochester Fire chief; and Corey James, Team PXY.
This event was produced in connection with the “Celebrate the Finger Lakes” campaign sponsored by the Strong.