Vallarta Living | March 2007
|Starlit and Dazzled|
Polly G. Vicars - PVNN
The 2007 Becas Ball was an unqualified hit, exceeding it's advance billing. The Patio Los Arcos at the Westin Resort and Spa was dazzling with sparkling lights augmented by the shining stars in the almost cloudless sky, and a bit later by the colorful fireworks from the Marigalante!
|Kentuckians Bob & Bobbie Niblock who won the raffle and donated it back to Becas|
|Maestro Melchor Cortes & wife Martha|
|Dr.Jaime Castañeda & wife Martha|
|Mama and Papa of Los Bambinos|
|Mariele & Blaine|
|MC Michael, President Mariel & IFC Representative Susan Schabel|
|President Mariel & Los Bambinos|
|Exquisite table settings|
Dressed in their finest, gals and guys mixed and mingled during the Westin Resort & Spa's complimentary cocktail hour as Los Bambinos, clad in their orange shirts, designed and fabricated by Bambino cousin Luis, strolled among the guests entertaining them with their own inimical renditions of songs of yesterday and today.
Becados (scholarship students) in their bright pink T-shirts, escorted guests to their tables, sold raffle tickets, helped with the live auction, passed out and collected pledge sheets, along with other chores.
A word or two with any of those bright young Vallartenses was enough to make us realize that even if we had not been dazzled with this fabulous event, knowing that we were helping provide an education for such delightful and deserving young people was worth much more than the price of admission!
Dinner, served to 360 guests, was an Epicurean delight. It started with a fresh and bountiful mixed green salad with choice of dressings, followed by Arrachera (beef) filled with cream cheese and spinach and chicken breast filled with a red pepper and chipotle sauce artfully presented with a medley of vegetables and potatoes. Finally we were served dessert of chocolate cake or marble cake decorated fancifully with bits of chocolate accompanied by coffee or tea.
During this delightful dinner, Joe and Kirstie Johnston performed a professional tango, after which many were enticed to the dance floor to display their skills. The DJ provided a gamut of music selections but never succeeded in stumping this group as the dance floor was always full.
Becas Vallarta Presidents Mariel Fregosa and Mary Ellis were everywhere greeting and attending to every last detail. They recognized the donors who contributed to making the evening a special event: Michael Shultz, MC and designer of the setting; Ada Colorina; Burt Hixson and Gerry Battle (Villa Verano); Cocina Marta en Vallarta; Lynne Baristow and DINE - Developer of Punta Mita - all donors of the live auction items; Bruce's Back Alley Bistro, Maripepa Gonzalez, Abigail Duenas and Raul Contreras, all of the Hotel Westin Resort & Spa, Pepe Del Real, Peter and Buri Gray. Special recognition was offered to scholarship students attending; the Becas Ball Committee; past and present volunteers; the International Friendship Club represented by Susan Schabel for its continued support and this year's gift of $30,000 pesos; Los Bambinos for their generous gift of a percentage of their CD sales, amounting to over $30,000 pesos over the past three years, as well as this year's $10,000 pesos; and to Ed Hutmacher of Santa Barbara Theater, who always matches Los Bambinos contribution from the sale of their CDs during their Santa Barbara concerts.
Happy attendees included almost charter members like Connie Blanc and her entourage from Playas Gemelas, Bill and Annette Semain (loyalists who never miss a Becas Ball), real newcomers like our Kentucky friends Jackie and Biz Cain and Bobbie and Bob Niblock (who won the 50-50 raffle and donated it back to Becas), Alameda, California friends Jeanne and Jeff Allen and Anna and Roger Woo and their guests.
As I walked around the gorgeous tables with the innovative centerpieces that carried out the Dazzle theme, I saw many friends who support Becas Vallarta year-round with their contributions of time and money, such as those at Dolores and Robert Brittingham's table, who always come forward to buy tickets and help in any way they can.
Our (Husband and my) table reflected the diverse nature of Becas Vallarta supporters. Maestro Melchor Cortes and his gorgeous wife Martha have long toiled in the Foundation's behalf, translating and checking all of our written material that we strive to have in both English and Spanish. Melchor has probably taught Spanish to a large percentage of us Becas Ball backers.
Dr. Jaime Castaneda and his lovely wife Martha were at their 3rd Becas Ball and even though Dr. Jaime had to leave early to visit one of his patients, they cared enough to be there to show their support. Nohemi Salinas Gadea and Genaro Morales Vazquez, mother and father of Los Bambino, made their first appearance at the event and seemed to enjoy being there to support a cause the boys have long backed. Attending their first Becas Ball were Mariele van der Hoeven and fiancé Blaine Selkirk.
Anyone who has read my articles knows that Blaine is the musical genius who is teaching, directing, producing Los Bambinos in Concert and their soon to be released CD of original music. I am happy to report that the consensus at our table and generally was that this was a fabulous dazzling evening and probably the best Becas Ball ever.
Here is a word of advice to everyone. We sold out of tickets before the event this year and actually had to turn caring people away. So next year, get your tickets early so you won't miss what is undoubtedly Vallarta's finest social event of the season as well as the main fund raiser for Becas Vallarta!
Scholarship students passed around pledge sheets asking for a one-time pledge to mark our 45th anniversary. You didn't have to be in attendance to become a sponsor of one or two of these bright young people. For only $160 US you can sponsor a junior high student for one year, $450 US for a high school student and $600 US for a university student.
To become a sponsor call me at 223-1371, email me at email@example.com or go to our web page at Puerto-Vallarta.com/AMF. What a huge impact you can make with such a small amount of dollars!
|Long time supporters Bill and Annette Semain|
|Tango dancers Joe & Kirstie Johnson|
|Two lovelies – Ivonne of Viva and Buri Gray, one of the organizers of the Ball|
|Peter Gray, Richard Bendix, Jerry Lafferty-all staunch Becas members and supporters|