Lively lion dancers, papered lanterns, jewel toned parasols and an enormous chau gong were among the many items of chinoiserie that set the stage for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s ball last Saturday.
The Red Dragon Jazz fundraiser celebrated the Chinese New Year a day early but in fitting style on the lawns of an Omega Bay residence.
The extensive grounds, peppered with towering palms, were suitably decked out for the event that attracted some 300 people.
Attendees wore Chinese garb or formal eveningwear and took to the theme with gusto.
The more adventurous dressed the part with women wearing elaborately detailed cheongsams of various lengths. Many males sported colourful kung fu shirts or oriental jackets.
The more conservatively-minded guests, however, looked equally soignée in formal eveningwear. The odd dj, however, was later cast aside as the evening progressed in deference to the humidity.
A champagne reception with hors d’ouvres started the evening off. The sedate lull of conversation, however, was later broken by the insistent thud of a Chinese drum.
This ushered in the flying fists and feet of a 12-member martial arts team
Sponsored by HSBC, members of the John Wai’s Florida Kung Fu Academy gave an energetic display of their skills.
Flown in especially from Fort Lauderdale, they were followed by lion dancers, a staple at many Chinese New Year events.
The spellbinding performance had the lions dipping, thrusting and rearing up on their back legs, much to the delight of onlookers.
Guests were ushered to their seats by the sounding of a gargantuan chau gong.
Tables were dotted around the lawns, which had been transformed into an oriental garden for the evening, replete with glowing lanterns and coloured lighting.
The three-course meal offered diners buffet-style Asian inspired cuisine.
Dishes included noodle salad, Peking duck ravioli and spicy pork tenderloin in ginger oyster soy sauce and profiteroles for dessert.
Serenaded by the band Pam and Friends, guests milled around between courses to wander around the grounds and to chat to friends on other tables.
Many bought the boxed chocolate coins and fortune cookies transported from table to table in a rickshaw. Provided by the event’s sponsors Fortis, Maples and Calder, UBS and Massive Equipment, they proved popular buys.
Another novel fundraising idea was the fans of fortune. Many of these had a winning number on them. Prizes – including a laptop and artwork – were donated by businesses and artists on the island.
Andrew Bacon compered the live auction at which jewellery and paintings by resident and local artists went under the hammer.
The silent auction also raised a substantial sum for the work of the Trust.
Pamela Fowler, the event’s fundraising manager said the ball had met all its objectives.
‘We are so pleased with how things went on the night. We have received so many e-mails from people telling us what a great time they had. In addition, we have beaten last year’s total and exceeded all our expectations which makes it all worthwhile. This year we have raised just over $48,000’.
Once the fundraising aspect of the evening was over, guests flung of bowties and shoes to dance to the sounds provided by DJ Craig.