The Annual Opening Day Whitney Luncheon at Saratoga Race Course


Marylou Whitney, Mayor Joanne Yepsen and Maureen Lewi Photos courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

Race fans enjoyed picture perfect weather on Friday at Saratoga Race Course and spirits were high as friends gathered for Marylou Whitney’s annual Opening Day Luncheon inside the At-the-Rail Pavilion.

The luncheon, which has now been taking place every Opening Day for well over 60 years, serves as a reunion of sorts with friends catching up and sharing stories of the past year as well as swapping bits of exciting info about the upcoming race meeting.

Horse owner and philanthropist Marylou looked resplendent seated with husband John Hendrickson, who was looking smart wearing a traditional seersucker suit. Marylou, always a fan of ‘tailored with a flair’, opened her season in THEIA by Don O’Neill in a beautiful deep coral jacquard from Saratoga Trunk, looking every inch the Grand Dame of Saratoga. She seemed to have set the tone for the color of the day as many other ladies also chose rich pinks and corals for their first day of the season attire.

(l-r) Michael Monaghan, Heather Mabee and Margot Monaghan Photos courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

(l-r) Michael Monaghan, Heather Mabee and Margot Monaghan Photos courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

(l-r) Saratoga Chamber President Todd Shimkus, Senator Kathy Marchione and NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay Photos Courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

(l-r) Saratoga Chamber President Todd Shimkus, Senator Kathy Marchione and NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay Photos Courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

Cot and Anne Campbell Photos courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

Cot and Anne Campbell Photos courtesy of Erica Miller, Saratogian

Marylou and John’s table was buzzing with friends the entire luncheon, and spotted chatting we saw Jane Wait, Maureen and Ed Lewi, and Marlene and Mike Okby. A hush only fell amongst guests as the first race went off, but the merriment quickly ensued and table hopping was at a high as we saw Marylou’s daughter Heather Mabee looking fabulous in black and white, Charles Wait, his son Charles Wait Jr. there with wife Natalie, Bob and Mary Alice Lee as well as Bob’s mother Brenda, Scott Johnson and wife Julie, Terry Lee, Mike and Linda Toohey, Nancy and Mike Ingersoll, Gloria and Joe Dalton, Julie Bonacio, Lisa Torani, Ray Martin, Todd Shimkus, Marcia White, Mayor Joanne Yepsen, and Brien and Cindy Hollowood.

Also seen were Senator Kathy Marchione, NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay, Dogwood Stable’s Cot and Anne Campbell, Jack Knowlton, Saratoga Hospital President and CEO Angelo Calbone with wife Kate, Patty and Vince Riggi, Samantha Bosshart, Virginia Kraft Payson, Jo Ann and Paul Oreffice, Beverly R. Steinman, Stanley Petter and Mimi Cooper.

As the horses entered the track in front of the pavilion, guests enjoyed a fully stocked buffet and toasted to the first day of another fantastic season in Saratoga.

SPAC’s Annual Ballet Gala & Lawn Party

The evening's winning tent

The evening’s winning tent by Modern Mix

Summer is here in Saratoga Springs and that means that one of the season’s signature events, the SPAC NYC Ballet Gala and Lawn Party took place over the weekend. The evening’s first event, the SPAC Ballet Gala: A Tribute to Great Britain welcomed guests to the Hall of Springs with a sparkling cocktail reception courtesy of Mionetto and dancers from Northeast Ballet. A roaming bagpiper helped bring a little British ambience to the clear evening, and one or two real life Beefeaters were seen mingling with the guests.

The Gala, hosted by SPAC’s Action Council, welcomed top sponsors like Price Chopper, Neil, Jane, William, Estelle Golub Family Foundation, Turbine Services ltd., and Mionetto. Spotted inside were Mike & Linda Toohey, Traci Jersen, Andrea Spungen, Tas Steiner, Erica Dingeman and Matt O’Rourke, Sue Hensley-Cushing & Kevin Cushing, Maria Harrison, Michele and Ron Riggi, Patty and Vince Riggi, Stephen & Keeley Desalvo, and Ed and Maureen Lewi. Guests dined inside the Hall of Springs on British classics like Beef Wellington and Shepherd’s Pie and enjoyed wine courtesy of Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Merlot Sonoma County Chardonnay.

Outside on the SPAC lawn the British Invasion was taking over and the mood was mod for the swinging 60s, Great Britain style. The Union Jack was sported on everything from bow ties to go go boots and guests really got into the spirit of the theme this year and went all out decorating their tents.

The Ballet Gala Lawn Party: A British Invasion was hosted by SPAC’s Junior Committee and top sponsors like Ayco, Bodywork Professionals, Mingle on the Avenue, and Towne, Ryan & Partners, P.C. helped make the night possible.

There was some stiff competition for who would win the Best Picnic Award, the Zieker’s tent was decked out with life sized Austin Powers cutouts and a great Sergeant Pepper’s cutout created by Gloria Ford which saw a lot of action from guests wanting to get their photo snapped as part of the Fab Four. Wendy Lawrence was spotted in a fabulous tent they were calling the “Shagalicious Lounge” with spot on swinging 60s décor complete with a white leather couch, oversized Union Jack painted guitar and more by Fine Affairs and catered by John Winnek.

It was the tent sporting a huge hand painted Union Jack tapestry that won out in the end though, as the cup went to the tent hosted by Jacob Hopper and Terry Leahy of Modern Mix and included guests Catherine and Mark Hover from Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio, Judy Soukup, Gretchen Tisch, Bret Van Etten, and Todd Garafano, the President at Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau and wife Holly. Gretchen from Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio was the artist that created the tapestry, and the group really came together to deck out the winning tent in all of it’s British glory.

It was the tent sporting a huge hand painted Union Jack tapestry that won out in the end though, as the cup went to the tent put on by Catherine and Mark Hover from Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio, Jacob Hopper, Terry Leahy, Judy Soukup, Gretchen Tisch, Bret Van Etten, and Todd Garafano, the President at Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau and wife Holly. Gretchen from Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio was the artist that created the tapestry, and the group really came together to deck out the winning tent in all of it’s British glory.

Spotted on the lawn we saw Joanne Yepsen, Charlie Samuels & Erin Koenen, Dennis McGowan & Erica McCarthy, Terry Lee & Dave Povero, Brendan Nadick, Shane & Jamie Williams Ness and their adorable daughter Addie, Rick Partyka, Julie Natale, Tammy Loya, Allison & David Meyers, Erika & Matt Gough, and Natalie and Charles Wait, Jr.

As the gong sounded to begin the performance guests took their seats and gathered closer to watch the NYC Ballet perform, and this year’s gala program also featured NYCB principal dancer Wendy Whelan in her last SPAC performance before her retirement from City Ballet after 30 years with the Company. Topped off with post-performance live music by City Rhythm, dancing and a grand Firework Display, it was a perfect tribute to the NYC Ballet at SPAC.

Always a successful event, all funds raised from the evening’s festivities support NYCB’s residency at SPAC, which will be back for 2 weeks for 2015.


2014 TRASK Art Show and Sale at Canfield Casino

Beautiful Saratoga Springs inspired art filled the Canfield Casino Thursday night for the 2014 TRASK Art Show and Sale presented by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. The Art Show and Sale, a unique event in Saratoga, is put on to benefit the Spirit of Life & Spencer Trask Memorial Restoration Campaign. The memorial, originally completed in 1915, is in need of professional restoration. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, in partnership with the City of Saratoga, has been leading the charge in preserving and caring for the memorial, which is located in Congress Park.

While guests mingled in the historic space turned art gallery, they sampled bites from Holiday Inn at Saratoga Springs, The Inn at Saratoga and the Barrelhouse and placed bids on their favorite works of art. The band Neighborhood of Make Believe took to the stage and provided a perfect musical backdrop to the bidding.

10457666_10153100243065288_6194257393390480482_oArtists mingled with supporters at the event, and spotted in the crowd we saw the chair of the event Maryanne Moerschell and her husband Dan, Bill and Susan Dake, Jeff and Deane Pfeil, Commissioner Skip Scirocco and his wife Corinne, Betsy Boland of Saratoga Springboard, Catherine and Mark Hover, Gretchen Tisch, Tracey Buyce, Jennifer Mahar, Kenneth Levy, Belinda Colon and Benj Gleeksman, Laura Chodos and her daughter Lisa Noonan, Judy Harrigan, Jim and Lisa Sasko, Jim Gold, Holly Schwarz-Lawton,and a special guest dressed as the Spirit of Life statue herself, who was probably the most popular photograph subject of the night (played by actress and local yoga teacher Amy Kirkpatrick Rosen).

Also in attendance was Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Board President Jere Tatich, Treasurer Cindy Corbett, Secretary Linda Harvey-Opiteck (also a TRASK artist), as well as Board Members Katie Carroll, Bill Willard, Sue Hensley-Cushing, and Michelle Paquette, Board Member Chris Armer and his wife Kelly Armer, Board Member Nicole Rogers and her husband Martin, and Board Member Liz Israel and her father, Bob Israel.

One of the most popular works of art of the evening was the oil painting, “The Spirit of Life III” by Rumara Jewett, which ended up receiving the highest bid of the night. Not just an art sale, the art show also had guest judges who presented Judge’s Awards to the winning artists. The Judges for the evening were Elizabeth Dubben, Director of Exhibitions at Saratoga Arts, and Ken Ragsdale, Artist and Art Educator.

oil painting by Rumara Jewett "The Spirit of Life III"

oil painting by Rumara Jewett “The Spirit of Life III”

The Grand Prize Winner, who received a $500 cash prize sponsored by Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio, was “Regina’s Ride” by Bob Klass, and Honorable Mentions included Matt Chinian’s “#297 Saratoga Apple”, Chris DeMarco’s “Umbrellas”, Mary Kathryn Jablonski’s “Whiphand” and Takeyce Walter’s “Apple Blossoms”.

All proceeds from 2014 TRASK Art Show & Sale directly benefit the restoration project, which will include all aspects of the Memorial: the Spirit of Life sculpture; the masonry surround, including the east balustrade and reflecting pool; and the landscape setting including plantings, pathways, lighting, and the rambling creek. The restoration will be completed for the Memorial’s centennial in June 2015, the same year the City of Saratoga Springs will celebrate the centennial of its incorporation.

Samantha Bosshart, the Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, had this to say about the event, “What’s exciting about tonight is that it’s a nice opportunity for artists to present art that is inspired by Saratoga, and to have artists at the event and donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale of their art to benefit a collaborative project with the city, to save what is our unofficial symbol of the city”.

The Annual Yaddo Summer Benefit

The Annual Yaddo Summer Benefit is always a singularly pleasant experience and this year’s benefit, held this past Thursday night in the historic mansion once home to Spencer and Katrina Trask, was made that much sweeter with the pairing of absolutely perfect summer weather. The evening started out upstairs with a private cocktail hour where Anne Palamountain was spotted chatting with friends and the spirits were high. Charles V. Wait, Dr. Amy Knoeller, Katie and Josh Nemer, Yaddo Sponsorship Committee members Jennifer Leidig, Rick Partyka, and Benefit Planning Committee members Tamie Ehinger, Brendan Flanigan, and Sally King were also spotted before Yaddo artist Michael Snediker, in quintessentially stylish summer madras, hopped up on a chair to clink his glass and usher guests down the grand staircase to the music room on the first floor for the presentation by the guest speaker.

As well dressed guests filed into the beautiful music room, Benefit Planning Committee members Judy Soukup and Christianne Smith handed out programs and little paddle fans printed with images of Yaddo to keep themselves nice and cool. The stillness of the summer evening was matched by the stillness of the guests, who sat in rapt attention eagerly awaiting the speaker and Guest of Honor, author Jayne Anne Phillips. Elaina Richardson, Yaddo President, thanked guests for coming and introduced Kim Swidler, the Benefit Chair for this year’s event, who after recognizing all of the hardworking committee members also recognized the Benefit Sponsorship Committee Co-Chairs Stacie Arpey and Cindy Hollowood.

Yaddo President Elaina Richardson, right, stands with writer Jayne Anne Phillips and her husband Mark Stockman photo courtesy of Ed Burke, Saratogian

Yaddo President Elaina Richardson, right, stands with writer Jayne Anne Phillips and her husband Mark Stockman photo courtesy of Ed Burke, Saratogian

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Poet Michael Snediker, a visiting artist at Yaddo, with Ann Palamountain photo courtesy of Ed Burke, Saratogian

The Guest of Honor, American novelist and short story writer Jayne Anne Phillips, was then introduced and a hush fell over guests as she shared stories about her experiences writing at Yaddo and then dove into some riveting excerpts from “Quiet Dell,” her latest novel. After fielding just a few of the many questions guests had, she urged everyone to head out to eat and drink and enjoy the beautiful evening as guests stood and applauded.

A lavish spread awaited everyone thanks to local restaurants and florists, who donate the wonderful food and flowers so over 90% of the proceeds go directly to the artists residency program at Yaddo. Restaurants like The Brook Tavern, The Crown Grill, 15 Church, Boca Bistro, Longfellows, Prime at Saratoga National and many more contributed to the delicious food, and a platter of macarons that were all colors of the rainbow from TC Bakery-Paris was quickly finished.

Guests mingled throughout the first floor of the mansion, taking in the beautiful works of art and sampling the food inside, and gathering in small groups to chat on the expansive veranda with a beautiful view of the famous gardens outside. Spotted amongst the guests were Wally and Sue Allerdice, Marcia White, Stacie and Mike Arpey, Anthony and Susan DePaula, Stephen and Susan Dorsey, Sequoyah and Seth Finkell, E. Stewart and Kimberly Jones, Sandy and Gail Keeler, Sally and Larry King, Cathy and Elliott Masie, Beverley Mastrianni, Will and Tab Orthwein, Mike and Marci Phinney, and Heather and Jason Ward.

A successful silent auction kept the table inside busy with generous items like Giants tickets, an acoustic guitar from Saratoga Guitar, Dinner in the Mansion for 10, a beautiful Frankie Flores print of the Yaddo Mansion and main fountain, a book club visit from Yaddo writer A.M. Homes, and jewelry from N. Fox, Frank Adams, and deJonghe.

Before the evening was through we chatted with Benefit Chair Kim Swidler who said, “It’s a wonderful honor to be able to be a part of this, it’s a great feeling knowing that all of these people have come together to support Yaddo.” Another successful summer benefit is now in the books for Yaddo, and with their successful sponsorship campaign they were able to surpass their $135,000 goal.

First Annual Dogs, Divas and Dudes at Prime at Saratoga National

When Michele Riggi throws a party you know she’s going to pull out all the stops, and that was certainly the case for the First Annual Dogs, Divas and Dudes Gala on Thursday at Prime at Saratoga National to benefit cancer research and discovery at the Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine.

Michele revamped the always popular and perennially successful Dogs and Divas luncheon and upped the ante to create this knee slappin’ and boot stompin’ cowboy themed bash. The veranda at Prime at Saratoga National was absolutely transformed and a western wonderland was laid out for guests under the tent by Fine Affairs, complete with bandanas, custom Dogs Divas and Dudes logo koozies from the Pink Paddock, dog treats from the Lazy Dog Cookie Co. and more.

A custom stage set up for the celebrity entertainer served as the platform for Michele to greet guests and supporters along with Master of Ceremonies Walt Adams from 101.3 The Jockey and the event cause wasn’t far from anyone’s mind as there were quite a few four legged guests as well, also sporting some seriously cute western wear. The live auction included an exclusively custom built “Doggie Estate” from Bella Home Builders, built and designed by Dave DePaulo, the owner of Bella Home Builders complete with a stone exterior, an automatic water bowl filler and a chandelier, perfect for a pampered pooch.

The western themed “grub” that night lived up to the always high expectations of Prime at Saratoga National and guests loved the lip smacking barbecue which featured BBQ pulled pork fritters, cowboy steak and jalapeno and lime Cotija cheese bites as well as signature “Big Daddy” and “Divalicious” cocktails.

Nearly everyone there donned some form of festive western garb and the crowd was a sea of rhinestone bedecked cowboy boots and bedazzled cowboy hats with lots of black leather and denim as the preferred fashion statement. Michele Riggi looked gorgeous in a black hat with turquoise accents while Julie Bonacio, there with husband Sonny, opted for pretty braided pigtails.  The entire veranda served as a cowboy playground as guests took turns riding the mechanical bull, watching a trick roping demonstration or relaxing by the fire with “Cowboy Poet” Mark Munzert.

Michele and Ron Riggi were seated front and center along with Patty and Vincent Riggi with special honorary guests Dog and Beth Chapman from the CMT reality series “Dog and Beth on the Hunt” for the special performance by celebrity entertainer country music artist Chris Janson, who got guests on their feet and clapping in front of the stage.  Mingling among the cowpokes were Roslyn Zecchini, Nicole Rich, Sandy Foley, Laura Bonacio, Nancy Bambera, Lisa Mitzen, John and Mimi Carusone, Nancy and Gary DiCresce, John and Denise James, Natalie Sillery, Dan and Dorothy Bullis, Bill and Alex Willard, Denise Dubois and Dr. William DeLuca, Rick Partyka, Kimberly Burton, Dr. Joy Lucas, and Anne Donlan. After the exciting live performance, guests got a chance to remember the evening with souvenir photos snapped by Imagine Photography and Design and then danced the night away DJ Mike Garrasi.

Fundraising numbers were still being totaled at press time, but event chairwoman Michele Riggi spoke to the Tattlers about the evening’s success. “I was thrilled with the turnout for our first Dogs, Divas and Dudes Gala and Cornell University was overwhelmed with the support. Chris Janson rocked Saratoga National and Dog and Beth Chapman were fabulous Honorary guests! Preparation for next year’s gala and we look forward to our continued collaboration with Cornell University”.

Opera Saratoga’s Annual Gala at the Canfield Casino

The artists at Opera Saratoga may be “a little emotional” but they sure can throw a great party. The dramatic weather on Friday evening was actually the perfect backdrop to celebrate this year’s Opera Saratoga Annual Gala and the Canfield Casino was full of Saratogians who came to show their support. Helen & Guy Mastrion did a magnificent job chairing the event for a second year, with an impressive turnout. Guests gathered at the bar enjoying cocktails and discussing the upcoming season (The Magic Flute” opened Saturday) , as the evening got underway.

The ladies dazzled in gowns for the black tie affair with Stephanie Collins wearing a floor length black and white dress by local designer Daniel Mozzes and Julie Fuller in classic black Ralph Lauren . Anne Palamountain, Amy and Jared Cantanucci, Heath and Jeff Ames, Chris and Andi Dolinsky, Lisa and Tim Higgins, Kristen Mann and Jerry Burke, Liz and Chris O’Brien all perused the fabulous silent auction items before the guests were seated for dinner. The charming Marcus Fuller was the evening’s Emcee and described the opera as one of the ‘jewels in Saratoga’s crown” before welcoming the talented Curtis Tucker, general director of Opera Saratoga. Mr. Tucker introduced two performances by Opera Saratoga Principles Seth Carico & Natalie Polito who wowed the audience with their breathtaking talent.

photo 4photo 5Alisa and John Wager, Lori and Todd LaRoche, Marcia and Bob Miller, Ted and Carol Newlin, Larry and Sally King, Annette and Archie Quarrier, John and Terry Forester, Kristin and Chris Grosso were all spotted enjoying the performance. Jonathan Heftner warmed up the crowd for the live auction and enticed them into record bidding, beating last year’s auction totals, to the delight of organizers and his lovely wife Kathryn, who looked on happily. The auction featured several fabulous trips including a luxurious stay at the Riviera Maya snatched up by Chris Dolinsky and a week at the Villa Belvedere in St John, which will be enjoyed by Helen and Guy Mastrion. Karen Ricci, Julie Cuneo, Kelly Hite and Nicole Buck won a girl’s night out and lucky Anne and Ethan Winter will be enjoying a once in a lifetime experience next June when they attend the Tony Awards in New York City.

As the dinner wound down party goers got on their feet and filled the dance floor to the music of Bobby Dick and Susie Q. Rosie. Rob Spring, Mandy Whelan and Rick Mattison, Sandra and Michael Trunzo, David and Allison Meyers, Dan Spillane and Sean Hickey were all in attendance, as were Michelle and Josh Galarneau, Brian and Katy Green and Rebecca Lawrence, Cara and Toby Milde and the charming Nicholas Wiggins. Thanks to the hard work of those who organized the evening and the generous support of those in attendance, the Gala raised $51,000 for Opera Saratoga. If you haven’t been yet, it’s time to get out and experience Opera Saratoga, world class talent right here in our own backyard.

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“Celebrate their Inner Child” event for Saratoga Center for the Family

l-r: Michele Riggi, Patty Riggi and Julie Bonacio

l-r: Michele Riggi, Patty Riggi and Julie Bonacio

One of the most playful parties this spring debuted at the Canfield Casino on May 28th, as supporters of Saratoga Center for the Family came out to “Celebrate their Inner Child”. The invitation promised an evening of grown up fun and delivered on every level. Guests streamed in to find a colorful vintage comic book theme decorating the venue, with life size superheroes and flat screen TV’s outfitted to look like vintage sets playing the Little Rascals, ET and Looney Tunes.

With bright blue specialty cocktails in hand, guests explored the venue which was jam packed with grown up games and excitement. Fran Dingeman was spotted getting her caricature drawn while others lined up to have themselves bejeweled in Swarovski tattoos or play a wine bottle ring toss. Leading the fun was event chair Julie Bonacio and husband Sonny, along with Mary Gavin and Jim Lavigne, Jeff and Deane Pfeil,  Amy and Rod Sutton, Tom and Kristie Roohan, Suzanne and Greg Grande and Erin and Dean Kolligan. Food blogger Ashley Dingeman was raving about the scrumptious spread from Steve Sullivan and his team at Longfellows and the crowd seemed to agree as they gobbled up Kobe beef burgers from the mini sliders station which also featured rosemary sea salt fries and delectable onion rings. Fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a huge hit, as well as the grown up Mac and Cheese bar with duck confit “Quack Mac” and “Lobsta Mac”.

FranDingeman BobAllen CongoThe silent auction items were bid on well as the evening got underway and Linda Toohey was thrilled to take home a downtown parking spot for a year. Dan Cheeseman won a package from the brand new Pavillion Grand Hotel and Terry White will be enjoying an outing for 4 at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club this summer. At the Candy Land themed dessert bar, Michele Riggi was spotted enjoying one of her favorite guilty pleasures, freshly spun cotton candy as she and other guests began dancing to a great mix of classic favorites. The DJ also mixed in some theme songs from favorite movies and television shows which elicited lots of singing along and smiles, like the one from SCF’s Leah Farrone as she heard “You’re the Best” from the Karate Kid.

As the dance floor filled up a congo line broke out and to everyone’s delight a clown joined in, whom unbeknownst to organizers, was arranged by Michele Riggi as a surprise. As the sun set, there was still one more thrill in store; a stunning fireworks display over Congress Park. Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family Deborah Tomasco encapsulated the one of a kind event saying “It was truly a magical night. It was our ultimate goal to reconnect the “grown ups” of our community with the innocence of childhood, which we work to protect day in and day out. From the looks of it, we achieved just that. There was a tremendous energy and joy about the evening, it was delightful’. $30,000 was raised for Saratoga Center for the Family which will help them continue to strengthen children, families and the community by reducing the effects of abuse, trauma, and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy.



The 4th Annual Music & Mingling to benefit the Saratoga Senior Center

It couldn’t have been a lovelier evening Thursday at the Saratoga Polo Fields for the event that helps kicks off the Saratoga Summer Season – the 4th Annual Music & Mingling to support the Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga. Champagne was flowing at the VIP reception for major sponsors including Ron & Michele Riggi, Vincent & Patty Riggi, Fred & Dinda McNeary and Colleen Carlson, along with many other festively dressed guests. Polo players Mario Dino, Kim Durling and Lauren Lis helped jump start the festivities with polo demos on the lawn, while Sabine Rodgers and Patty Riggi kicked off the Veuve Cliquot sabrage.

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photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman Photography

View More:

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman Photography

Event Chairpersons Angie Sultan and Raymond Bryan greeted their guests with executive director Lois Celeste, directing them to the evening’s festivities including cigar and bourbon tastings, sushi and sake bar and live music by Grand Central Station. Taunia Kipp & Steve Coons, Mary Fiorillo-Lentini, Norm & Kim Levy, Jeff Oleska, Lisa and Tim Higgins, Kerry and Tom Selfridge, Lisa and Bob Berls, Radka Dooley and Marty Ferrillo were all on hand showing their support for the Senior Center. Also spotted were Ken and Clover Schwartz, Tommy and Rachel Uccellini, Chris and Melissa Zieker, Val Collins and Tom and Kristie Roohan.

Fashion Guru Natalie Sillery delighted guests dressing up the crowd for the Heather-Bohm Tallman photobooth, and Lauren Cavanaugh was on hand with her one of a kind Life Rocks Jewelry.

One of the evening’s highlights was a live auction with a chance to bid on 2.5% share of a racehorse owned by West Point Thoroughbreds – owners of Kentucky Derby Runner-up Commanding Curve. Terry and Debbie Finley generously doubled their offer when the bidding hit an all time high between two groups – one led by Abe Sultan & Marty Ferrillo, and the other by Rich White who was buying the share as a wedding gift for his new bride to be Margaret D’Andrea. West Point Thoroughbreds generously offered 2.5% to both parties – doubling the profit for the Senior Center. Organizers were delighted to report the evening raised over $75,000 , almost twice the total of last year’s event.

Cantina Cocktails for a Cause

Jared Cantanucci & Marcus Fuller perfecting 'The Chupacabra'

Jared Cantanucci & Marcus Fuller perfecting ‘The Chupacabra’

Cantina owners Heath and Jeff Ames hosted the very first ‘Cantina Cocktails for a Cause’ last Wednesday at their signature Broadway restaurant. The event was designed as a compliment to their wildly popular Cantina Kids Fun Run and judging from the crowd on Wednesday, they have another hit on their hands. Event Co-Chairs Amy Cantanucci, Ashley Freeman and Heath Ames welcomed guests as they arrived and within minutes the bar was packed with supporters including Mike Toohey, Alysa and Jay Arnold, Julie and Marcus Fuller, and Caroline and Stowe Burke.

Drink requests were being tripled teamed by celebrity bartenders Jeff Ames, Jared Cantanucci and Marcus Fuller who mixed, poured and charmed for the length of the event. Marcus was flipping tequila bottles in the air as Jared mastered the Chupacabra (a massive conncotion of frozen margarita topped with Coronas) while guests filled up on guacamole, tuna tartar, stuffed chiles and other scrumptious nibbles. Heather Straghter, Bridget Kraev, Kelly Hite, Lisa Mosier, Jenn and Kyle Perry, Stephanie and Dave Collins, Liz O’Brien and Marti Laird were spotted chatting in the crowd along with Saratoga Hospital President Angelo Calbone and his always gracious wife Kate. The energy in the crowd was infectious and as they night continued DJ Dragonette had everyone on their feet dancing. With no signs of the party ending, the Ames’ kept generously pouring drinks long after the bar was to close. The success of this new event was certainly a testament to the passion and dedication of Heath and Jeff Ames and their fundraising efforts. Since 2008 The Cantina Kids Fun Run has raised over $170,000 for pediatric care at Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department and Wednesday’s event will add $7000 to the 2014 race totals.

Saratoga Hospital Flower and Fruit Mission’s Annual Luncheon

Spring was in full bloom last Tuesday at the Flower and Fruit Mission’s Annual Luncheon.  Some of Saratoga’s loveliest ladies gathered at the Hall of Springs for the event, with over 300 people in attendance to support the William J. Hickey Women’s Health Services at Saratoga Hospital. Guests streamed in wearing brightly colored dresses with show stopping fascinators and hats and were greeted with warm smiles from the luncheon committee, Tina Nigro, Beth Silver, Laurie Murphy, Mylea Aldrich, Holly Lee, Lisa Higgins and Bart Altamari.

Ladies received a glass of champagne as they enjoyed the social hour and the room buzzed with conversation in what always feels like the unofficial kickoff to the social season. Julie Bonacio sparkled in a Don O’Neill for Theia blue and green dress and Jill Henning hat and chatted away with Mary Gavin, in a beautiful pleated spring dress. Robin Kappler, Mariah Harrison, Lydia Bazar and Harriet Kalejs made their way to their table, which were covered in pink and white linens and beautiful spring centerpieces of hydrangea and bright gerbera daisies. Flower and Fruit Mission member Marcia MacDonald was one of several ladies charming guests as they sold raffle tickets for some exciting prizes including a basket full of wine and a money hat.

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ffphotoPeople took their seats as Flower and Fruit Mission president Amy Sutton addressed the crowd, articulating the many advances in Women’s Health Services at Saratoga Hospital that have resulted from the fundraising efforts of the Mission. These efforts have helped in purchasing equipment and supporting renovations for the maternity ward as well as funding scholarships for advanced nursing education. Amy, resplendent in a white sleeveless dress,  then joined Saratoga Hospital President & CEO Angelo Calbone and wife Kate, Mayor Joanne Yepsen, Maureen Lewi and others as lunch was served. Jeannette Jordan, Jean Belisario, Deana Signor, Karrie Steuer, and Jane Wait enjoyed the first course, a scrumptious asparagus soup while nearby several tables of young mothers were dining including Allison Meyers, Erica Gough, Julie Fuller, Cara Milde, Jennifer Hennessy, Leah Parillo, Jennifer Perry, Amy Cantanucci, Michelle Muir Galarneau and Valerie and Stephanie Collins. Expectant mother’s Chelsea Silver and Rebecca Beers were also spotted, Silver in a sleeveless purple sundress and stylish black headband and Beers in an emerald floor length dress and Christine A. Moore hat. Clover Schwartz, Lisa Gabryshak, Heath Ames, Beth Alexander, Kelly Hite and Beth Alexander were also on hand enjoying the luncheon. As the afternoon wound down we caught up with Delores Parillo and Amy Sutton as they left the Hall of Springs, and both ladies seemd  thrilled with the outcome of the luncheon, which raised over $15,000 dollars.