SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) — As people all over the Valley tuned in to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, one group in Sharon did it in a big way — all to help create connections in the community.

Big hats, pastel dresses and a red carpet led patrons in to the Kentucky Derby party at Buhl Mansion.

Katie Moldovan, volunteer chair of the youth engagement committee, said she went to see the derby in 2016 and has wanted to organize a community event like this ever since.

“It’s just so much fun to see everybody get dressed up — gives you a reason to put on a fancy hat, a fancy dress and just get out and enjoy,” Moldovan said.

Moldovan is part of the Homegrown Initiative, which helps connect young professionals with jobs in Mercer County.

The event’s more than just the glitz, glam and fancy hats — this is a way for the Homegrown Initiative to keep young people involved in Mercer County. She said that in the last 10 years, the group has noticed a population decrease for people between ages 18 and 40 in the county.

“We also wanted to make sure we had something fun to do, because that’s one thing we hear all the time: ‘There’s nothing to do around here,'” Moldovan said.

The initiative will used the funds from the sold-out derby party to fund similar events and help keep young people in the area.

“We really want to stick with this vision of repopulation and really getting our young adults connected,” said Jake Rickert, director of workforce development at Penn-Northwest Development Corp.