If you were lucky, you got the opportunity to attend the Annual Foundation Gala and Charter Night at Ristorante Pappagallo on Saturday 17th October 2015.  And, unless you had too much wine to remember, you would probably agree the evening was one to go down in the Rotary record books. In fact, if gala dinners were basketball players, this event would be a combination of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James (in no particular order). Unlike other formal dinners and award ceremonies that bore its goers to the brink of death, this event’s atmosphere was electric and energizing with quite an interesting mix of formality, familiarity and fun.

Ristorante Pappagallo
Without the easy listening music, engaging conversation, stand-up comedian of an MC and five-star quality food, this event would still be memorable if only for the ambiance. Ristorante Pappagallo affectionately known as “Pappagallo”, offered a buffet of unique sensory nuances for gala attendees. Occupying a spacious but quaint building on a lake, Pappagallo’s ambiance set the tone for the evening’s activities.

Apart from the ambiance, the much awarded restaurant also delivered a world-class dining experience for attendees. Course after course of delectable, gourmet entrées emerged from the kitchen every few minutes or so it seemed, wine was apparently served from a bottomless pit and the overall service was nothing short of impeccable.

Fashion
There is only one thing Rotarians know better than the four-way test and that is how to dress to impress. If one didn’t know better, one would definitely have believed that the Oscars were in town. By red-carpet standards, attendees turned out in their finest outfits including a few all black confections, dramatic necklines and debonair tuxedos. It was a classic night of style, with everyone looking their absolute best. If it were indeed the Oscars, everyone would have made the Fashion Police’s best dressed list.

Entertainment
Watch out Kevin Hart, there is a new comedian in town and Past President Mario Ebanks, MC for that night’s ceremonies, is that new comedian. Laughter rose high as he slayed with crowd with joke after joke. What was even more entertaining however, was his ability to bring a balance of seriousness to the night’s events as well. Kudos Past President Mario on a job well done!

The MC however, wasn’t the only entertainment. Bona Fide, a popular Cayman-based band brought the crowd to the dance floor in droves. Although, I am sure the wine helped. Looking from a distance, it seemed people were poured onto the dance floor and somebody forgot to say when.

Among the crowd of dancers, Past President Naude Dreyer and Sue Holmes were definitely the standouts. With their fancy moves, they put professional ballroom dancers to shame as the fully live, six-piece band played a rainbow of genres including Jazz, R&B, Motown, Funk & Disco, Reggae, Dancehall, Soca and Calypso all night long.

Awards
One of the most important segments of the night’s events was the distribution of the Paul Harris Fellowship Awards. Quite a few individuals who have contributed more than $1,000 to the Annual Program Fund, the Polio Plus Fund or the Humanitarian Grants Program of the Rotary Foundation were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. Congratulations to all award recipients!

Silent Auction

The silent auction was the major fundraiser of the night and it delivered on its promise. Attendees’ bids brought in hundreds of dollars for future Rotary and community projects. Two paintings donated by Rotarian Jennifer Tippetts brought in a few hundred dollars all on their own. A special thanks goes out to all who donated auction items as well as those who participated in the auction. Thanks to you, the auction was a huge success!

The Bus
Also, a special thank you goes out to Rotarian Khalesiah Barboram for organising the buses to and from the Gala event. Undoubtedly, the bus added an extra layer of fun to the night’s activities especially the singing led by Past President Fiona Moseley and her father Past President Neville Smith.

Thank you

The Foundation Gala and Charter Night was a night people will be talking about for  months to come. Thank you to all organisers and attendees! See you all next year!