Christmas in July Raises Over $80k for Arts Education

Christmas in July Raises Over $80k for Arts Education

The Brunch Bunch

Move over, snow – water is where it’s at! A squadron of misters flanked your catwalk into The Roost, moistening your approach and whetting your appetite. Once inside, a bevy of beautiful peeps beamed back at you. Everyone hoisted a paddle…

Get your mind out of the gutter – they were auction paddles.

The generous and gregarious crowd was there to support Tools for Tomorrow, an education initiative that resuscitates vital art programs for the dreamers and doers of tomorrow. 

Abigail Carter, an alumnus of TfT, graced the brunch with her voice and verve, singing an angelic rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Lover”.

We could leave the Christmas lights up ’til January
And this is our place, we make the rules
And there’s a dazzling haze, a mysterious way about you dear
Have I known you 20 seconds or 20 years?

The stage was set and the cheer was palpable. Who better to ignite the fuse of fierceness than drag queens? Bella da Ball was our emcee of excess, rallying the raucous attendees into fits of anticipation. She gave us context about the charity, she kept the itinerary trucking ahead, and she sprinkled yuletide gayness over every damn moment of the wondrous happenings.

Bella had some help from her royal court of co-kweens. Summer Eve washed away preconceptions and shattered expectations with a soothing flood of performances right up the audience’s chimney hole! Dani Blue dazzled guests with her fashions, face and figure. Do fries come with that shake, gurl? And Reba brought country-fried couture to the table, served hot and sassy.

Speaking of noshes, New Leaf Catering caressed our palates and tickled our taste buds with a gay array of menu options. Their French toast added sin to your grin while the brisket hash elevated savory succulence to new heights. 

Oh, and executive chef Scott Robertson was on hand giving burly bro hugs to anyone fortunate enough to fall within his manly embrace. Bon appétit indeed!

The mere memories bring a blush to our complexion. Luckily, we had fans at our disposal in the form of auction paddles. But be careful! You didn’t want to wave them frivolously, or else you would have found yourself in an epic bidding war. Benevolent beefcakes thrust their meaty paws in the air, donating tens of thousands of dollars to Tools for Tomorrow. Coachella Valley schools earned over $28,000 from the brunch shenanigans alone, but that was just half of the story…

Dinner and a Show

As temperatures dipped, humanity soared like Santa’s sleigh. But St. Nick wasn’t the only bighearted daddy represented at The Roost that night. Creatures were stirring, alright; the place was full of otters and wolves and bears – oh my!

They all converged for XXXmas dinner with love in their souls and funds in their wallets. Seasonal wreaths festooned the walls, just waiting for eager auction-goers to name their price. Interested parties wrote down bids on the placards below each wreath design. Some were spooky, some were spirited… literally – they had small bottles of booze attached to their boughs. 

Libations also flowed freely from the Roost’s ample spigots. Crooner David Hirsch brimmed with panache as he entertained the extended fam with holiday faves galore. The atmosphere paired brilliantly with the meal: a traditional turkey dinner from Trilussa Ristorante. Pillowy stuffing nestled with a blast of buttery green beans and a dollop of tart cranberry jelly to satiate your fixin’s fix. 

And then the main course arrived: the splendor of giving.

As the wreaths made their way to the main stage, the crowd oohed and ahhed in earnest. Roost owner Jeff McDonald called out the totals on each silent auction placard, challenging those in the bar to raise the bar. Patrons parried for dominance, outbidding one another in a frenzy of philanthropic fervor. 

A pink flamingo themed piece waltzed with an Elvis wreath; two Halloween decorations had a ménage à trois with a Valentine’s wreath; the auction ignited! Although there were a few sincere rivalries, the mood was predominantly pleasant. After all, it was for a great cause!

Diners sponsored schools to the tune of thousands. At the end of the night, the event had garnered over $80k for Tools for Tomorrow. The evening blended all the best ingredients of a seasonal soiree: gaudy indulgence, camaraderie by the ton, and smiles by the mile.

The Wise men would be proud… out, weird and proud. Merry Christmas in July, everybody!

First Published in GED Magazine. Writer: Kevin Perry

Brunch Photos: Ted Scott | Dinner Photos: Barbara Kerr