Gala brings festive, fun night to city

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Greenville may be a small town, but it does things in a big way. That fact was proven last Saturday night when arts supporters turned out in force at the White Oak Club House for the Greenville Area Arts Council’s (GAAC) Annual Silent Auction and Benefit Gala.

This year’s theme was Monte Carlo Night.

&uot;We had guests from all over – Montgomery, Andalusia, Birmingham, Georgiana, Camden, Luverne – and even one couple for Seagrove Beach, Florida,&uot; said Roberta Gamble, membership chair for the GAAC.

Mother Nature proved kind to event organizers and guests by providing a balmy spring evening neither too warm nor too cold – perfect for activities held in the giant blue and white striped tent in front of the club house.

&uot;We were so worried we’d need to have heaters out there if it were too cool, but things turned out just right,&uot; said Jill Stallworth.

She was just one of several hardworking GAAC volunteers who helped provide an array of delicious food, displayed more than 180 auction items, decorated the tent and clubhouse and generally helped keep things running smoothly throughout the evening.

Horace Horn and Alabama Electric Cooperative provided the beverages for the gala.

Mary Ann Hamilton took charge of the extensive array of hors d’oeuvres and delicious desserts offered to guests. Leitha Boutwell made arrangements for the tent and Nancy Idland was in charge of the decorations, ably assisted by daughter Olivia. Olivia put her artistic skills to use to create a wonderful Ritz backdrop for the entertainment.

Miss Greater Greenville 2005, Christen Clarke, drove up from Mobile for a few hours to provide musical entertainment for the crowd.

&uot;Christen had to go back Saturday night after performing at the benefit to help her mom clean up after a prom Mrs. Clarke was assisting with,&uot; Stallworth said. &uot;I think her vocals really added to the festive atmosphere of the evening.&uot;

More out-of-town volunteers helped provide fun and games for the benefit attendees.

Members of the Montgomery-based service organization Beta Sigma Phi turned out to monitor the games in the tent and cheer on the participants.

Plenty of laughter and cries of excitement were heard as luck proved a lady for some. Those who won received vouchers they could use toward items up for auction – everything from a week at a beach house to a black and white custom drawing of your home.

GAAC member Tom Braxton put his game voucher to good use on a mini stereo system – though he had to outbid his friend, Nancy Jones, for the item.

&uot;Now Tom I needed that as a gift,&uot; Jones chided with a smile.

Stallworth’s aunt, Brenda White, said they truly enjoy helping out with such non-profit events.

&uot;We have a lot of fun and we know it’s going to a good cause,&uot; she said.

And since Stallworth had assisted the service organizations on several occasions, &uot;it was time for pay back,&uot; laughed Stallworth.

&uot;I think Aunt Brenda and the group did a really good job,&uot; she said. &uot;They added some excitement and fun to our evening that made it more successful than ever.&uot;

There are still some expenses to be paid. And funds are still coming in from high bidders who left early in the evening before the auction was officially closed. Overall, Stallworth said the projected totals &uot;look good.&uot;

Glenda Stone was one of those attendees who helped contribute to what looks to be an impressive total.

&uot;I won the Jimmy Buffett basket,&uot; she noted with glee as the bidding ended.

Dr. Jean Thompson, one of the most prolific bidders of the evening, was very pleased with her new magnolia stained glass panel, created by local artisan Dale Gates.

&uot;Now that I have met the artist, I just may have these put all over my house,&uot; Thompson said with a smile.

It seems a good time was had by all.

&uot;I think it was a fabulous evening. The weather cooperated and everyone really seemed to have a really, really good time. They enjoyed the activities, folks were bidding on the items and certainly the food was wonderful.

&uot;It’s a tremendous undertaking to put on an event like this. We are really pleased with how things turned out,&uot; said Gamble.