Fun and games in black tie | VailDaily.com

Fun and games in black tie

Carolyn Pope/Special to the Daily

Special to the Daily/Carolyn PopeJohn and Bobbi Ann Houtsma with Pamela and David Dores

A sold-out crowd filled the Grand Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch on a recent Friday evening for the annual Black Diamond Ball. The event, a continuation of the classic “Crystal Ball” begun by Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer, raises funds for programs of the Vail Valley Foundation.

Several games were scattered about the silent auction area, where Shade Tree’s Alan Holub tried his luck at “Whack-a-Crab” and Ben Krell played skee-ball like a pro. The games were all a part of the theme for the event, “The most fun you can have in a black tie.”

The gala is the Foundation’s opportunity to honor its annual Volunteer of the Year and Citizens of the Year.

Dick Pownall received the Ernie Bender Volunteer of the Year award. Pownall has volunteered for nearly 20 years with not only the Vail Valley Foundation but throughout community. He has been tireless in supporting ski racing in the valley, volunteering for 18 years at the Birds of Prey World Cup races. He headed up the volunteer course crew this year.

Howard and Cathy Stone walked away with the Vail Valley Citizens of the Year. If you’re a music lover in the valley, you certainly know Howard and Cathy, who founded the Vail Valley Jazz Foundation and the Vail Jazz Festival, which not only brings world class musicians and music to town in August, but also supports gifted young musicians with scholarships, including the Jazz Goes to School program.

The Walkers also founded the Friends of the Washington Prep, a program that brings the school’s band from the south central neighborhoods of Los Angeles to the valley each year.

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After the dinner, speeches, and festivities, the Bob Finnie Band cranked up the volume as the crowd filled the dance floor.