The 21st Annual Double H Ranch Gala proved yet again to be a bucking good time! 800 plus RSVP’d to attend to the western themed gala at The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom. The Tattlers put together our best cowgirl looks and headed out for a great cause. Upon arrival Max Yurenda, CEO and Executive Director of Double H Ranch, greeted every guest with a handshake and a beaming smile. Elizabeth Macy from Image Photo and Events was taking photographs of guests with characters Scooby Doo and Shaggy from the cartoon Scooby Doo. This garnered a lot of laughs and set the tone for a fun filled evening. Board of Director member Ed Mitzen was there with his beautiful wife Lisa and a gaggle of kids. The younger guests were entertained in the arts and crafts for kids pavilion under the supervision of volunteers including Saratoga natives Diane Benton and her daughter Janice Design.
Honorary Chairperson Michele Riggi looked the part in a fantastic black and turquoise ornamented cowgirl hat. Also spotted at the event were Carmen and Michael Della Bella as well as Marian and Norman Wolgin, and Richard and Janet Yulman. Christina Fitzgerald of Saratoga Springs was also seen enjoying herself with friends and family, and might we add she looked fabulous in her red denim! New to the event this year was the “Chuckwagon Challenge”, an amateur southwest culinary competition that included five finalists who were paired up with professional chefs and culinary experts. The winner was Stephanie Berwick who made a mouth-watering three cheese chicken quesadilla mentored by Chef Jaime Ortiz of Prime.
The silent auctions items were overwhelming in the best way possible. There was a beautiful painting by R. Christie Crotty, a one of a kind bicycle by Lilly Pulitzer, tickets to see the New York Giants and much more. Guests spent two hours sipping on cocktails whilst tasting the Chuckwagon Challenge delights, and perusing the silent auction tables before being called to sit for dinner catered by Mazzone Hospitality. The night didn’t end there though. Guests were wowed by a special performance from The Manhattan Transfer.
The Tattlers got a chance to chat with founding member of the Double H Partners and Double H Ranch Gala Committee member Heidi West about why Double H is so invaluable.
“Why am I involved in the Double H Ranch? For me it’s really all about the kids. I’ve seen the Ranch in operation and have seen firsthand how the children are able to forget about their illnesses and enjoy themselves. Summer camp is an experience that most children take for granted and the Ranch helps kids with serious issues feel normal at least for the week they are are at camp. This is a life changing experience for these kids. I feel honored to be a part of the Ranch and the amazing people that give their all to the children. Attending an event or the annual Gala for the Ranch is the easy part. It’s the staff of Doctors, Nurses and camp counselors along with the Ranch Staff that do the real work-giving their time and energy selflessly to the camp year after year. I’ll support them in any way I can.”
After dinner guests were shuttled around in golf carts to various rides for a wonderful “no line” exclusive after-hours park experience. It was a great event for the whole family and a dazzling show of support for the Double H Ranch. If you missed this year’s benefit put it on your list for next year because it is definitely a unique way to support such a great cause.