"Big Game" party in the Bluegrass special to VIPS

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It's the "Big Game" in the "Big Easy" with some big names attending. Stars from athletes to celebrities made their way to New Orleans for the Super Bowl parties. But miles away from the bayou of New Orleans is a "must see" party in the Bluegrass.

For many it was a chance to meet some of Kentucky's former stars on the gridiron at the "Party with the Pros."

"I don't know if there is another Super Bowl party in Central Kentucky, but ours," said Frank Minnifield, a former Pro Bowl defensive back for the Cleveland Browns.

Minnifield, who was also voted in the "All Decade Team" for the 1980s, got his start playing in Lexington. Today, he and others like Marty Moore, of the University of Kentucky, drew a lot of attention.

"Super Bowl weekend is like sacred ground for guys that played in the National Football League," explained Minnifield.

"Getting to hang out with the pros is a really awesome experience for the kids. They get kind of a special thing that other kids might not get to do," reacted Jill Haas, a mother at the event.

But even bigger than the game was the reason for this party. The event's proceeds and silent auction benefited the organization, VIPS or Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Inc.

"This is the next best thing for all of the guys in Central Kentucky to get together for a good cause," said Minnifield.

"These kids are so special, the ones that we serve, and to be able to have them and have these players take them under their wing is really gratifying," added Mary Moore Yohan of VIPS.

Haas chimed in, "It's very special, it's very special."

Jill Haas would know. Her daughter, Sylvia, is one of the special children getting the help she and her family need.

"I'm hoping that it raises a whole lot of money for our organization so that we can keep providing excellent services to kids in Kentucky," grinned Haas, who admits she can get choked up talking about the organization that does so much to help young children.

She's not alone. At this event, seeing the children who have to overcome so much leaves an even bigger impact on some of the toughest guys in the room.

"It just breaks your heart in half. It makes you want to work even harder to try to raise even more money for them next year because you know how important it is," said Minnifield, who has been with the party every year for the last seven years.

While the organization is small, it has a big hand in helping families and children and this party is a big reason why it continues to make a difference. Making this event a can't miss for everyone involved.

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