First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
More than 125 people attend First Ladies’ Luncheon

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 16, 2009  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton
Jill Midkiff

First event of Old Governor’s Mansion Celebration a success

First Ladies' LuncheonFRANKFORT, Ky. — Surrounded by the formal gardens of the Old Governor’s Mansion, several former Kentucky First Ladies joined First Lady Jane Beshear in hosting 125 guests at the First Ladies Luncheon, the first of four events scheduled to celebrate the renovation and reopening of the historic mansion in downtown Frankfort.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the renovation of such a historical building then to bring together past families to share in their wonderful memories of their time at the Old Mansion,” said Mrs. Beshear. “We are all so grateful for the generous donations that allowed us to host this event without the use of any taxpayer money.”

Guests had a delicious meal prepared by Kathy Cary, owner of Lilly’s of Louisville and a James Beard chef. Steve Collins, son of former Governor Martha Layne Collins, entertained guests with an overview of the history of the Old Governor’s Mansion. Estill Pennington, a noted art historian, spoke about the loaned and permanent art that is now in the mansion. Arts pieces were loaned by UK Art Museum, Speed Museum, Filson Club in Louisville, and the Kentucky Historic Society.

The second event, Brunch in the Garden with Jon Carloftis, was held earlier today at the mansion. Carloftis, a renowned garden planner and rooftop garden designer, shared his thoughts on the fusion of history and contemporary garden plants in his presentation, “Transitioning History through a Modern Garden.” Guests enjoyed a brunch from Clare Ann’s of Frankfort.

The Governors’ Barbeque and Unbridled Spirits will be a memorable event on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7:00 p.m. A truly Kentucky experience, the event will feature Bluegrass music, smoky barbeque and plenty of unbridled spirits. Guests and numerous past Kentucky governors will enjoy food prepared by Matt Falcone of Bayou Bluegrass Catering with tickets priced at $210 each.

Concluding the celebration is the Kentucky Mansion Celebration Preview Gala, a black-tie affair to be held on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7:00 p.m. Guests will be among the first to tour the mansion and will then be invited to join Gov. Steve Beshear and the First Lady for a Kentucky-proud dinner orchestrated by Wayne Masterman, owner of Frankfort’s Serafini and Lexington’s Portofino and Summit restaurants. The meal will conclude with a special dessert created by top Food Network chef, Bobby Flay, which he will specifically create for this historic event. Cost per ticket is $300.

Tickets are still available for the Kentucky Mansion Celebration premier events for Thursday and Friday. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Kentucky Executive Mansions Foundation, Inc. (KEMFI), as well as the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, a one-of-a-kind facility that provides humane treatment and shelter for Kentucky’s unwanted equines, regardless of breed, while working to find them adoptive homes.

The Kentucky Mansion Celebration was announced last November by First Lady Jane Beshear. The Kentucky Mansion Celebration tours begin Sept. 19 and will continue until Oct. 3. Tour hours on Tuesday and Thursday are from 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday tours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday tour hours are from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. The Kentucky Mansion Celebration tours will be the public’s last opportunity to tour the Old Mansion until after the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at:

  • Frankfort: Commonwealth Credit Union- All Locations; Chamber of Commerce/Tourism Commission office at 100 Capital Ave.
  • Louisville: Bedded Bliss, 3936 Chenoweth Square and Hubbuch and Co. of Louisville, 1301 Herr Lane.
  • Lexington: Central Bank, 3270 Tates Creek Road, 3700 Palomar Center and 300 West Vine Street; and LV Harkness, 531 West Short Street.    

Tickets for Thursday and Friday’s events are available online at, or guests may call 502-226-6440. The renovation and celebration events are solely funded by private and in-kind donations. No public funds will be used in the gala celebration.