Saturday, May 3, 2008

20th Barnstable Brown Gala attracts luminaries from movies, music, sports

Tricia Barnstable Brown and her sister, Priscilla Barnstable, aren't playing around. They're throwing a big ol' bash for their 20th annual Barnstable Brown Gala.

The former Doublemint Twins could -- and should -- write the book on how to host a party that'll keep people talking. So it's only fitting that they invited Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who knows a thing or two about hosting legendary soirees.

Hef will be accompanied by his trio of beauties -- Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson -- and longtime personal assistant, Mary O'Connor, at the Derby Eve event, which begins at 8.

Edward Norton, star of "The Incredible Hulk," will attend tonight's fete at Barnstable Brown's Spring Drive home. The first-timer will mix 'n' mingle alongside veteran gala-goers Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly.

Model-actress Molly Sims, who starred in NBC's "Las Vegas," and the ever-beautiful Bo Derek are coming. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, who's also a guest of the Grand Gala, will be there.

Nick Lachey and his brother, Drew Lachey, will attend with Drew's wife, Lea, and their baby girl, Isabella.

And stop the presses: Headline makers Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt of MTV's "The Hills" infamy will grace the gala with their presences, as they did the White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday.

"Ooh! This is fun, isn't it?" giggled Barnstable Brown, who's made her mark around the country as the Derby diva hostess with the mostest when it comes to celeb-studded, pop-culture phenom-filled soirees.

"This year's theme is 'Fantasia,' which means musical extravaganza and fantasy," she added. Proceeds from the gala benefit diabetes research in honor of Barnstable Brown's husband, David, who died in 2003 from the disease.

"I've got some new surprises in store," Barnstable Brown added.

Among the highlights: The University of Kentucky Dance Team will perform atop floats from last night's Kentucky Derby Festival Republic Bank Pegasus Parade that will be parked in Barnstable Brown's yard. There's also a ginormous dragon in the pool, and, of course, guests can expect rock star performances from the celeb attendees.

Speaking of music …

Country stars Lee Ann Womack and Travis Tritt, as well as up 'n' coming crooner Anastasia Brown, are attending.

Hip-hop pioneer Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels will be in the house. So will Eddie Money and his kids, including daughter Jesse Money, who competed on MTV's musical reality show "Rock the Cradle."

Blue-eyed soul singer Michael McDonald, R&B singer Smokey Robinson and his wife, Frances, Mary Wilson of The Supremes and vocalist Taylor Dayne have confirmed that they're coming.

The gridiron will be well-represented. Tom Brady is bringing his best bud, Kevin Brady (not related), and several of his fellow New England Patriots, including Randy Moss, Dan Koppen, Larry Izzo, Lonie Paxton, Matt Anthony, Matt Cassel, Tedy Bruschi and Wes Welker.

Olympic medalist ski racer Bode Miller is returning this year.

Celeb chef Bobby Flay and his wife, actress Stephanie March, also will return to the scene of the season's most-anticipated soiree, along with actor Jerry O'Connell (who's bringing his father, Mike O'Connell) and "Dancing With the Stars" alum Joey Fatone.

The gala will score with golf fans when guest Paul Azinger, the Ryder Cup 2008 American team captain, attends.

Miami nightclub owner and former "Fear Factor" contestant Linley Edwards will be there too. So will casino bigwig Don Barden and his wife, Bella.

And Louisville's own Larry Birkhead will attend.

After tonight, Barnstable Brown and her sister will have hosted the Kentucky Derby's hottest party for two decades.

Will they carry on their tradition of bringing an all-star lineup to town?

"We'll leave that as a mystery," said Barnstable Brown, batting her eyelashes and smiling coyly.6