Always a welcome sign that summer truly has arrived in Saratoga Springs, the New York City Ballet Gala is an event the Tattlers look forward to all year. After last year’s fabulous Great Gatsby theme we couldn’t wait to find out what the theme was for this year’s fête, and Moulin Rouge certainly did not disappoint. As the Tattlers made their way into the Hall of Springs we were greeted by the charming sounds of an accordion player and beautifully dressed dancers from Myers Dance Company adding some saucy Parisian flair to the champagne and La Fée Absinthe reception.
Organized and hosted by SPAC’s Action Council, the proceeds from the event support the summer residency of the New York City Ballet at SPAC. We spotted dozens of Ballet supporters at the Hall of Springs gala dressed to the nines in true Moulin Rouge style, including Action Council member Andrea Spungen, Jacqueline Newell, Kyle McCarthy and Beth and Marc Fecteau. Mary Martin, Dr. Joy Lucas, Tammy Loya and Kimberly Cannizzo all got into the spirit of the Belle Époque era and looked stunning in their gala dresses. Michelle Riggi looked cool and elegant in emerald green, and we spotted Dee Sarno and Susan Read, the new Chairman of SPAC’s Board of Directors. The Tattlers got a chance to chat with Cindy Lunsford and Kenneth Hoskins, Beth Alexander, Matt Raggio, Michael and Linda Toohey, Kevin Cushing and Sue Hensley-Cushing before guests sat down inside the hall for the Moulin Rouge themed dinner.
After guests dined on Chateaubriand and French macaroons, it was time to head out for the New York City Ballet Performance. The program for the evening featured two premieres for Saratoga and one world premiere Ballet. Justin Peck’s “In Creases,” the first world premiere from City Ballet at SPAC in 25 years, absolutely delighted audiences and the Tattlers felt truly lucky to watch the performance right here in our very own town.
The Lawn Party was in full gear right away and guests and ballet supporters knocked themselves out decorating their tents and dressing up in costume for the Picnic Contest. Wendy Lawrence won the Unofficial Tattlers Best Dressed Award with her absolutely stunning sequin dress, perfect for the theme and event. Out tent hopping we spotted Elizabeth Macy, Jim Rossi from Saratoga Polo, along with Cassie Scarfone and Tara and Vincent Mesker. Nick and Kim Nachbur were spotted under a tent with Will and Tab Orthwein.
After visiting the incredible tent hosted by Action Council Membership Chair Melissa Zieker we knew the competition would be stiff. The huge tent was decked out to the nines in lavish Moulin Rouge style, from the red carpet laid out for guests at the entrance to the amazing Eiffel Tower centerpiece, completely made out of coffee stirrers. Little elephant sculptures, a nod to the Moulin Rouge film, dotted tables and a swing complete with marabou feathers hung from the tent’s rafters. Even the guests at Melissa’s tent were in full swing with the theme and their costumes were really above and beyond.
In the end it was Melissa Zieker’s tent extravaganza that triumphed in the Picnic Contest and she took home the inaugural trophy dedicated to the late Philly Dake, one of SPAC’s founders and longtime benefactors and former president of the Action Council. It was a much deserved win, and we want to let everyone know Melissa has truly raised the bar for tents at the Gala Lawn Party and will be a tough competitor for next year for sure.
As the sun began to set and guests gathered together to watch the fireworks display, we bumped into Angelo and Kate Calbone, Suzanne and Greg Grande, Brian and Christine Joyce, Dennis McGowan and Laura Tickner and Matt and Lisa Gabryshak. The Tattlers took a spin around the dance floor before we left, after all, who can resist Garland Nelson and Soul Session? Partygoers filled the dance floor as the Tattlers headed home, absolutely enchanted from a truly singular Saratoga Springs experience.