It was an event fit for a celebrity on Saturday night at the Porterville Fairgrounds, as the Sierra View Foundation hosted their 13th annual Gala event. This year’s theme was ‘Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams.’
This year, the money raised through the gala will be going to a new state-of-the-art MRI scanner called the Siemens MAGNETOM Aera. With this machine, an approximate 4,000 MRI exams will occur each year, and will provide for better imaging, faster exam times, and a reduction in repeat scans during examinations, as well as a larger and more comfortable bore space.
When the doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and community dignitaries began pouring in, it was easily to tell that this event could have easily been mistaken for a Red Carpet. Luxuriously sparkling dresses dragged trains across the floor, as men, wearing their best suit and ties, escorted their dates into the building. Upon entering, each guest was offered a flute of bubbly champagne, and complimentary glasses of champagne made their rounds throughout the entire night. Raspberries and blueberries floated atop the sweet beverage.
Several different types of appetizers, courtesy of the night’s caterer Fugazzi’s, were carried on trays and offered to guests as they chatted amongst themselves. Cocktails were available for purchase near the back of the room, and a photo booth, decked out with lavish furniture and perfect lighting, had a line that stretched across the room, seemingly endless.
Around 6:45, Tulare County Supervisor for District 5, Dennis Townsend, welcomed everyone in, and requested that guests begin to find their seats at their assigned tables.
“Thank you everyone for supporting the Sierra View Foundation and Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC),” said Townsend once the crowd had settled into their seats. “We are sincerely thankful for everyone who has made it out to help us raise money for a new MRI scanner that will help progress Sierra View Medical Center’s imaging services.”
Townsend invitedSVMC President and CEO, Donna Hefner, to the microphone. She thanked everyone for attending the event, before expanding on the MRI scanner by explaining how it will benefit the hospital.
“The addition of this new RI scanner to our radiology suite will expand access to diagnostic imaging that supports a complete range of clinical applications,” said Hefner, before returning the microphone to Townsend.
Townsend took a moment to thank a handful of people in attendance. Among the myriad of people he thanked were Milt Stowe, Mayor Martha Flores, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward, Mike Ennis, Allen Ishida, Dr. Kent Sorrells, Dan Smith, Donna Hefner, Tracy Canales, Ron Wheaton, Dr. Jeffery Hudson-Covolo, Doug Dixon, Fugazzi’s, Stafford’s Chocolates, the volunteers who helped serve food and beverages for the event and the PUSD students who were snapping photos and taking videos of the night’s events.
Townsend extended an extra special thank you to the event’s sponsors. The “Extravagant” sponsor for the night was Bank of the Sierra. Luxury sponsors included Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Sequoia Transitional Care, Town and Country Market, Porterville Compounding Pharmacy, Setton Pistachio and Aria Community Health Center. Family HealthCare Network were the “Posh” sponsors for the event. He then asked the room to bow their heads in prayer, and gave a brief invocation over the event and the people in attendance.
Shortly after 7 p.m., dinner was served. A mouthwatering plate of filet steak, chicken marsala, mashed potatoes, broccolini and carrots. The main course was followed with a beautifully decorated plate of Stafford’s Chocolates, each with a piece of dark, milk and white chocolate waiting to be devoured.
As plates were cleared away, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux began the live auction for the night, entertaining guests, and trying to get as much money out of the crowd for each prize as he could.
The auction began with four tickets to Disneyland and a dozen donuts all year long. This item was from the courtesy of Sierra Minit Mart and Hergeshiemer’s Donut Factory. This item sold for $1,300.
The next prize was a three night stay at a beach house in Graver Beach, donated by John and Chastity Lollis. This item sold for $1,500 before it was donated back and sold again for an additional $1,400.
The exciting and entertaining auction continued on to the next item, a year’s worth (12) of hour long massages, donated by Dr. Raheel Mann. This item quickly sold for $1,200.
Boudreaux moved onto the next auction item up for bidding which was an escape room experience, courtesy of Clevr Escape, and dinner for 12 at Fugazzis. As bidding was taking place, Prestige Limousine Service threw in full limo services for the highest bidder. The item went for a total of $2,400.
A three night stay in cabin at Lake Tahoe, donated by Julianne and Jamie, was up next, and sold for $1,900.
The trip to Lake Tahoe was followed by a highly sought after auction item; Eight choice tickets to any concert at Eagle Mountain Casino, a steakhouse dinner at The River Steakhouse, and full limo services courtesy of Prestige, as well as $800 in gambling vouchers. This item had two Gala guests battling in out in a bid war. Ultimately, the item sold for $2,450.
A handmade 3-tiered bar cart/kitchen island was wheeled out, and was immediately bid on. A small bid war commenced, but for $600 the kitchen appliance was sold.
A three night stay at a a house in Arroyo Grande came up for auction. This item was donated by Tara Everett of CVBF.com. The winning bidder got the item for a bargain of $1,000.
A dinner for 12 at the Fugazzi’s in downtown Porterville, which should open it’s doors by January, had guests excited to bid. Prestige threw in full limo services for the winning bidder, and the item sold for $2,000.
The most anticipated auction item for the night had finally made it’s way to the bidding table. Dr. Jaisi Sidhu donated a Bollywood inspired dinner for eight, complete with cocktail and dancing, hosted at her house. Decor for the dinner will be provided by The Flower Mill, who had put together delightful and extravagant center pieces for the Gala. The starting bid for this item was $1,500, but the price quickly jumped to $5,000, in a matter of seconds. In the end, the item sold for $10,000.
When the auction was complete, the band People in the Movement (PIMs) took the stage and had guests on their feet dancing in the middle of the dance floor. A few people began to trickle out, but a large group stayed and danced the night away.