Island flair enchants guests at Youth Guidance Tropical Night Luau

VERO BEACH — It may still be spring, but for more than 30 years, the unofficial kick-off to summer in Vero Beach has been the Youth Guidance Tropical Night Luau.  Its relaxed, tropical theme is designed to put everyone in the mood to just kick back and enjoy the experience. Even a torrential downpour, just as guests were arriving to the event, wasn’t enough to put a damper on the night’s festivities.  The rains passed as quickly as they began, giving way to a gorgeous Florida sunset and a fabulous party. Organizers made a major change this year, moving the party to the casually elegant Quail Valley River Club.  “After 32 years at the Polish American Club, we thought it was time for a change in venue,” said event chair Laurie Connelly.

Despite slightly higher ticket prices, the tactic obviously worked; the fundraiser was completely sold out more than a week beforehand.

“People were clamoring for tickets,” said Youth Guidance Executive Director Barbara Schlitt Ford.

“Quail valley has been wonderful,” added Connelly.  “They have done everything possible to accommodate us.  We have about $54,000 worth of summer camp sign-ups and our goal is to try to cover that.”

Guests were given multi-hued floral leis Aloha style as they arrived, to compliment their already vibrantly colored beach-y garb.  Shorts, Hawaiian shirts, sundresses, and sandals predominated, with nary a jacket or tie in sight.

Tables of donated silent auction items, ranging from services, restaurants and recreation packages, to art, jewelry and retail items filled the lobby.  There was even a mink jacket that, despite the steamy heat, was attracting quite a lot of attention.

Quail Valley’s entire main building was utilized for the party, with the fabulous band, Gypsy Lane in the main dining room, and food buffets set up in the grill and porch area outside.  Quail Valley chefs once again worked their magic, offering up an assortment of delicious island fare, replenished through the night.

“This is such a great party!”  and “The band is awesome!” were the most frequent comments overheard throughout the evening, and the continually packed dance floor was a testament to the later.  Shoes were kicked off and hairdos wilted as the evening wore on, but there was absolutely no question that that the party was a spectacular hit.

Funds raised from this event will go directly towards the cost of summer camps for at-risk children in Indian River County.  The primary mission of Youth Guidance is one-on-one positive mentoring, but the organization also provides for than 50 monthly activities for un-matched children, scholarships, school clothing assistance, holiday celebrations and other services. {igallery 212}

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