Snowdown is always wild, but this year, with the “Safari So Good” theme, it epitomized Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
(What, you’re surprised to find a literary reference in Neighbors? You must not be a regular reader.)
Somehow, wild mixed with elegant at the Snowdown Prom, also dubbed the Wildlife Masquerade for Hearts, at Sorrel Sky Gallery on Saturday night, and the twain met gracefully. The dress code called for either safari-appropriate or Durango dressy, and the 150 attendees went all out in either direction.
Unlike high school proms, however, liquor didn’t have to be smuggled in, it was served right there for the adult crowd. (There are benefits to aging.)
Karen and Wayne Barger hosted a martini and Manhattan tasting bar, and the Seasons Rotisserie and Grill owners decided they wanted to use Colorado-made liquor for the drinks.
They enlisted the help of their general manager, Erin Gregory, who chose Peach Street Distillers in Palisade, which was co-founded by Ska Brewing owners Bill Graham and Dave Thibodeau along with Palisade resident Rory Donovan, as the potent potables for several cocktails.
The distillery’s products were perfect for the safari theme, as almost all of them have animal names. The Aviation, using Jack and Jenny Gin, Luxardo Cherry Liqueur and a splash of lemon juice; a cosmopolitan made with Goat Artisan Vodka; a dirty martini made with Jackelope Gin; and a Manhattan made with Colorado Straight Bourbon (the only one without an animal name, but since Time Out New York named it one of the top 10 bourbons in the country, we’ll let that slide.)
Kirk Komick of the Rochester Hotel not only donated the champagne, he reprised his role as guest bartender, also pouring a variety of wines and beers.
Guests enjoyed a variety of appetizers, including antipasto kebabs, beef Wellingtons with red wine sauce, salmon mousse on crostini and chicken empanadas.
It’s not a prom without music, and DJ Steve kept the dance floor hopping, while almost everyone took advantage of the “wildlife” photo area to commemorate the evening.
Shanan Campbell Wells and her staff threw quite a party, ably assisted by the staff of the Mercy Health Foundation – Karen Midkiff, Joy Hess, Kay Hoppe-Jones and Lauri Wilson-Lacy. The foundation was the recipient of the evening’s largesse, which will be go toward the Equipment Fund at the Cardiology Center at Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Trying to enjoy their birthdays while mourning the Broncos’ rout are Ann Lowe, Jane Steele, Wyatt Manson, Lora Porter, Maggie Gardner, Katie Dudley, Janet McCoy, Bryce Raymond, Jim Robertson, Bob Gramera, Leslie Kirk, Larry Phelps, Taylor Sallee, Sandy Brown, Clyde Hassett, Karen Overington, Ella Roth, Neil McCleery, Soren Kriscke, Mimi Hayduke, Lisa Schuba, Eli Buck, Lon Erwin, Carol Martin, Indiana Reed, Kathy Ferraro, Maggie Pomeroy and Susan Arnold.
Saturday marks the 12th annual rolling of the balls (as opposed to the running of the bulls) of the Red Ball Express, a project of the La Plata County Rotary Clubs. (We have four, which has to be a per capita record, but Rotary International doesn’t keep that kind of statistic.)
This is a unique fundraiser, in that it doesn’t just benefit Rotary’s many projects in our community and overseas, but also benefits a number of other local nonprofits, including the Adaptive Sports Association, Durango DEVO, Bayfield Early Education Programs, the Durango Discovery Museum, Durango Nature Studies, several 4-H clubs and other assorted good causes.
The Rotarians do all the organizing, and the participating organizations get a big chunk of the proceeds from all the tickets they sell to supporters and friends.
Participants are essentially adopting two of the numbered red balls (out of a maximum of 300 balls) at a suggested donation of $5 per pair of numbers. If the first two balls in the chute at the bottom of the hill at Durango Mountain Resort have your entry’s assigned number, you win $5,000. The second pair of numbers wins $2,000, and third place is $1,000.
The balls will be set loose to let gravity have its way at about 4 p.m. You do not have to be present to win, but four bountiful gift baskets will be given away to those who are present, and it’s exciting to watch.
Entries may be purchased through members of the participating organizations, from any Rotarian and, through the end of business Friday, at Fast Signs, 1139 Main Ave. They’ll be available until 3 p.m. at the bottom of the hill at DMR.
Check www.durangoredball.com to see the complete list of participating organizations, the rules, odds and other miscellaneous information about the event.
This event has raised more than $400,000 for the community, money that has made a difference for many organizations. And kudos have to go to the sponsors, who have remained faithful since the event began about a decade ago, including the name sponsor, Wells Fargo Bank, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Four Corners Broadcasting, DMR and Momentum.
Valentine’s Day is only a short ways away for these early February anniversaries – Clark Lagow and Sandy Newman, Ormond and Jeannie Morford and Rollie and Ella Roth.