Jan. 19 2004 – Valentine's Day falls on Saturday this year, but the traditional Valentine's Day Ball of the Humane Society of St. Thomas will take place not on that date but a week earlier.
The "Doggie Ball," the Humane Society's largest fund-raiser of the year, is being held on Feb. 7 at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, and this year's event will feature people and activities that ballgoers have come to love and look forward to.
Dellia Holodenschi, longtime board member and Givenchy party-giver extraordinaire, is once again chairing the planning committee. Sam Topp, who with wife Claire has taken twenty-some adopted strays into their home over the years, will be back in his familiar role as master of ceremonies.
The "Pluck-A-Duck" attraction, introduced three years ago, will return, with rubber duckies strategically placed on "ponds" in the Reef ballroom. Donors of $25, $50 or $100 win the prizes indicated by the numbers beneath the ducks they pluck.
One challenge of this year's ball organizers is to exceed the record attendance — 567 individuals — of last year's event, which featured the formal unveiling of the architectural designs for the society's planned "animal care campus" off Weymouth-Rhymer Highway. (See "Vision for new 'animal care campus' unveiled".)
A more somber challenge is to tap more deeply into the hearts, as well as the pockets, of a community in which animal abuse continues to be a widespread societal problem and the enactment of legislation making it a felony remains a political challenge.
While the fund drive for the new facility continues, all proceeds from the Doggie Ball will go toward the operation of the existing animal shelter in Estate Nadir.
The ball provides an opportunity "where the community can come together to support a wonderful cause — and raise awareness of the many homeless animals needing homes at the shelter," Holodenschi said. "One act of loves goes such a long way!"'
The evening gets under way at 7 p.m. with cocktails, to be followed by a sit-down dinner and dancing to the music of St. John's Cool Session band. Opportunities for contributing throughout the night include a silent auction and a raffle, in addition to the Pluck-A-Duck feature.
Tickets are $125. They are available at the Humane Society shelter in Nadir, the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce offices on Main Street, Soft Touch Boutique, Jan-Michael's Hair Studio, Interiors at MSI and Home Again. For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, call Humane Society board president Joe Aubain at 776-0100 or Holodenschi at 513-1854.
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