Thursday, 25 July 2013 15:19

RSVP: Heavenly Night

By Trina Lucas | Entertainment

Last Saturday evening offered a beautiful reprieve from the summer’s heat and humidity. Storms on Friday and rain earlier in the day Saturday had given way to cooler, drier temperatures, providing the perfect setting for a heaven-sent celebration at The White Party, Saratoga Bridges’ largest annual benefit. Goddesses in white, co-chairs Beth Alexander and Heather Straughter greeted 600 guests arriving at Fasig-Tipton. 

A grand champagne display called for toasts just inside the door. The swirl of supporters mingled on the auction floor and in the mezzanine enjoying cocktails courtesy of DIAGEO. Brilliant in white were Kathleen Monaco, Alice Mancini, Julia McCurdy, Jennifer Hallowell, Deana Zornow, Mallory Baringer, Jillian Petercsak, Kate and Rich Edwards, Dr. Chad Vaughn and Laura Vaughn, Bob and Michele Dashnow, Lena Wilkins, Joe Cruppi and Elaine Sillery, with her aunt, Natalie Sillery.

The buzzing round quieted when Sammy the Bugler announced the start of the live auction shortly after 8 p.m. Saratoga TODAY’s own Chad Beatty, president of Saratoga Bridges Foundation Board, stepped up to the podium with executive director Valerie Muratori, and Sonny Bonacio, honorary chair with his wife, Julie, worked the floor to rally bidders. Ready to raise their paddles were Robert and Lisa Moser, Kerry Murray, Brendan O’Hara, Mark and Catherine Hover, Gary and Margie Willis, Nancy Smith, Peter Flaherty and Dan Czech.

In no time, the bids were flying. Joe Torani claimed a $10,000 home project package donated by Bonacio Construction for $17,000 and Paul Robbins ‘won’ a wine dinner for ten at Saratoga National Golf Club with his bid of $2,700. Michele Riggi will be planning girls’ night with the package of pampering and gifts she claimed from Frank Adams Jewelers; Violet’s & Stella’s of Saratoga; Fusion, The Salon; Hattie’s Restaurant; and Crush & Cask.

Paul Matties, Jr., made someone very happy with the deJonghe 14k gold and diamond pendant he took home for $1,400. Jeff Russell, sitting with his wife, Kimberly Adams Russell, was the winner of a package donated by Saratoga Trunk and Tammy Loya Studio that included a couture design from the new Collection D-Alli with a photo session and framed 11x14. And lead sponsor John Hendrickson bid $1,900 to secure Sidney Frank Importing’s donation, a VIP concert package for 6 at the upcoming John Mayer concert at SPAC.

Hendrickson’s wife, Marylou Whitney, watched the bidding fun with her daughter, Heather Mabee, and longtime friends Jeanette and Augie Jordan and Maureen and Ed Lewi. 

In party tradition, the auction closed with work from Saratoga Bridges’ Creative Endeavor Artists. Brimming with confidence and pride, Andy, Mandy and Shannon presented the pieces they were donating, valued at $425 in total. Connie D’Ambra clearly saw the art was invaluable, however, as she raised her final bud to $2,800. Following a hearty round of applause for a very successful auction, the angelic crowd flowed outside to continue the festivities.

Drapes of white fabric set by Fine Affairs billowed with the light wind and Posie Peddler’s floral arrangements lit the tables against the dusk sky. Mazzone Hospitality had created dinner stations with an array of tastes: brick-oven pizzas, roasted vegetables, gourmet salads, make-your-own tacos and black bean shooters. James & Sons Tobacconists provided hand-rolled cigars for after-dinner enjoyment alongside the passed dessert treats.

Between her crazy photo booth and countless roving shots, Heather Bohm-Tallman captured all of the fun, including countless party-goers on the dance floor. This year’s band, Gravity, kept the place hopping until their very last note. The event co-chairs even joined them onstage for a finale performance! Also seen were Heath and Jeff Ames, Brendan Flanigan, Christianne Smith, Rick Partyka, Bridget and Vladimir Kraev, Maggie Quinn, Julie Slovic, Tammy Loya, James Teele and Nikki Roche.

Heather Varney, Development and Foundation Coordinator for Saratoga Bridges, reports that the fundraiser net more than ever before at $112,000, thanks to their season presenting sponsor, The Adirondack Trust Company, and White Party presenting sponsors DIAGEO and CDPHP. Additional underwriters included Hattie’s Restaurant, Hampton Inn & Suites Saratoga Springs Downtown, Michael and Stacie Arpey, Ronda and Larry Fein and Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Visit Saratoga TODAY Newspaper on Facebook for complete RSVP photo albums of these special events.

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