The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon was full of local residents, second-home owners and visitors celebrating and raising funds for the long-reaching arm of the Vail Valley Foundation on Friday evening. If you have ever watched dancers on the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater stage, seen a performance at the Vilar Center or watched the World Cup ski racers soar down the Birds of Prey racecourse, then you know a little bit about what the Vail Valley Foundation has accomplished. That is just the beginning of a long list of contributions that the organization has made to the Vail Valley, including many educational programs, such as the Magic Bus, kindergarten and college scholarships and GirlPowHER.
The evening was one of cool electric jazz violin, great raffle prizes, an energetic and successful live auction and the most fun that you can have in a black tie. When a certain social columnist saw Candace Leach enter the Westin, she thought to herself, "No, she did not. She could have not surpassed the blue silk organza gown that she wore last year."
Well, I am here to say that she did with a fabulous brilliant yellow-silk Asian-themed gown that was absolutely gorgeous. Being the gracious person that she is, Leach calmly said, "This is my mother's doing. Give credit to my mom."
Leach is the daughter of Janie and Axel Wilhelmsen, of Axel's clothing store, a family that knows fashion.
There were many standouts, and let's face it, seeing men in tuxedos (and kilts, as it were) and women in gowns, with all the accouterments, is half the fun. Notwithstanding, the more important piece being the mission of the VVF, which is to enhance and sustain the spirit of the Vail Valley by providing leadership in educational, athletic and cultural endeavors; an undertaking that they do not take lightly and perform very well. VVF raised funds to help support their programs to the tune of more than $500,000, as reported by Katie Kasch in VVF Development and Events. Some funds were raised through a Diamond Draw, where attendees purchased tickets that gave them a chance to win prizes such as NYC Fashion week, the 2013 French Open, skiing in Fernie and a Westin Staycation.
And speaking of giving back to the longstanding traditions in our Valley, a word to the wise; try to get out and catch some of the 50th Anniversary celebrations; the characters that are in town celebrating Vail's 50th will not disappoint. There is such an air of nostagia and reminiscing throughout our valley. Catch the 50th Anniversary fever!
For more information on VVF's extensive programs, visit www.vvf.org.
Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events, soirees and fundraisers for non-profits. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.