Chilmark PTO throws a Caribbean extravaganza
The Chilmark Community Center is one of those buildings that can be transformed, as if by magic, into a winter wonderland, a haunted house, the backdrop for a glitzy wedding, a place to gather for town meeting, or a place that feels like a Caribbean getaway. This past Saturday night, the Chilmark School PTO did just that. With the help of the entire school, the walls were adorned with handmade pink flamingos, brightly-painted flowers, and the most colorful fish ever seen.
It all began last year when Merrily Fenner collaborated with the classic-hits party band known as the Smokin' Flamingos. Merrily, with her husband Frank and friends Judy and Frank LoRusso, generously donated their time along with a truckload of lights, decorations, beverages and more, to assist the PTO with this momentous event.
After months of soliciting and collecting auction items, the time had come. Setup began Friday with a billowy canopy suspended from the ceiling. Balloons, streamers, lights, and hand-painted artwork tied it all together around the Caribbean theme. Then there was little more to do but await the guests.
Phil Morris and brothers Bill and Dennis Duffy, from Boston's North Shore, performed at this remarkable event to benefit the Chilmark School PTO and Outing Program. The kind and generous trio donated their time and talent to help raise funds to benefit not only the school, but the community.
Mary Ambulos, adorned in hot pink tights and a pair of flipflops suitable for the likes of Charo, greeted people as they entered, and welcomed them by draping a lei around each neck. The doors opened at 6:30. Homemade desserts covered the tables. Silent auction items, unhesitatingly donated by community members, were ready to be bid on. Items included an afternoon sail, breakfast at the Outermost Inn overlooking the Gay Head cliffs, a truckload of topsoil, handcrafted jewelry and so much more.
The guests danced, laughed, socialized and commented on the attire with the most Caribbean flair until it was time for the live-auction portion of the evening. Comedian Lenny Clarke took center stage and the battle began: Who was going to outbid their neighbor for a half-day fishing charter, a captivating piece of artwork or a handknit alpaca wrap by Susan Larsen? Lenny reminded his audience that they were there for the kids.
When all was said, done, eaten, and won, guests trickled out just after 11 with the same smiles and laughter they had arrived with. The coordinators remained at the Center for a while longer, not ready to let the evening end. The Fenners, LoRussos, Knights, Keenes, Carrolls and Bardwells recapped the evening while casually clearing tables and repeatedly discussing how lucky they are to live in the town of Chilmark.
Katie Carroll is the proud parent of a Chilmark School student.