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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Glitz & Tech at Near & Far Aid Gala

By Bonnie Adler

The red carpet was laid out tonight at Mitchells of Westport for the Near & Far Aid gala, one of Westport’s most glamorous annual fundraisers.

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Kara Yass of Westport uses the new BidPal to monitor her bids tonight at the Near & Fair Aid gala. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bonnie Adler for WestportNow.com

Guests arrived in black tie and haute couture to celebrate the Oscar-themed night and to raise funds for the 65-year old all-volunteer organization that works to end poverty in Fairfield County.

Glitz, glamor and giving abounded, with gold-hued Oscars standing proudly among silent and live auction items amidst a crowd of several hundred supporters.

Event co-chairs Sarah Hale of Norwalk and Mary Thornton of Fairfield offered guests a new technology this year, geared to simplify and enhance fundraising.

Bidders were offered a hand-held device similar to a cell phone known as a BidPal, which alerts donors when items they bid on receive a competitive bid.

Kara Yass, new to the concept, declared it was “terrific,” but added, “It’s also a great thing that they have lots of young people around to help just in case you need it.”

WestportNow.com Image
Tony Dovolani, co-host and a star of TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” dances with Near & Far Aid board member Kim Meier in a special number at tonight’s gala. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bonnie Adler for WestportNow.com

In an evening highlighted by elegant cuisine, a resplendent bar, and live dancing to the music of the Hal Prince Band, the cutting edge fashion show was, as always, a clear standout.

Several Near & Far Aid board members joined professional models and strutted their way down the long runway wearing glamorous designer clothing and drawing cheers and whistles from the audience.

Masters of Ceremony for the evening were Tony Dovolani, of “Dancing With The Stars” and Alisyn Camerota of the Fox News Channel..

The live auction featured deluxe items such as tickets to the Wimbledon ladies finals in England and a dress by British designer Victoria Beckam, a shopping spree at Mitchells, a three-day stay at a luxury hotel in the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and a tour of Istanbul and Cappadocia, among several others.

A rare wine auction ended the auction portion of the evening, with guests invited to dance the night away “until the credits roll.”

Near and Far Aid has given more than $13 million to charities in Fairfield County since 2000. Said Bill Mitchell, whose family-owned store has sponsored this event for 19 years, “It’s a wonderful night.”

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Posted 03/01/14 at 03:24 AM  Permalink



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