One after another, as guests entered Greystone Manor’s grand foyer, a look of, “oh wow” passed over their faces.
Sure, anyone attending a black tie gala expects opulence and luxury, but the setting of Saturday evening’s Hope Ball certainly gave even the most seasoned, been there, worn that, charity gala attendee a little thrill. This was no bedazzled hotel ballroom, no recently redecorated yacht club lobby. This was a private home, so large the Lely High School football team had to be called in to help keep guests from getting lost and so finely appointed that the only real way to describe the event’s venue was, epic.
The Hope Ball, which is an annual fundraiser for the Marco Island chapter of the American Cancer Society, raises money for many of the services the ACS provides to local cancer patients. One of the organizations that the Hope Ball supports is the annual Reaching Out to Kids With Cancer (R.O.C.K.) summer camp, which provides a “normal” summer camp experience to kids fighting cancer.
For Maria Coords and Tim Farris, owners of the fabulous Greystone Manor, deciding to open up their home to Saturday’s event was an easy choice.
“I’ve lost my mother, my father and my sister all to caner,” said Coords, adding, “I just want to see a future where less people are effected by this disease.” For Coords, being able to offer up her home was an honor, saying that she was happy to allow the caterers, decorators and event organizers the run of her estate for the better part of a day.
For ACS volunteer Bailey Quinn, having a local resident open up their home really showed the true community nature of Saturday night’s gala.
“It’s such a community event, everyone we asked was willing to donate silent auction items, and to be here in this beautiful home, it really shows that the community cares,” said Quinn who is a freshman at the University of Florida but came back to Marco for the weekend to help with the party.
According to Quinn, “hundreds and hundreds of hours” went into making Saturday a success, which was easy to see from both the amount of lavish detail put into every aspect of the event and the wealth of items that stocked the silent auction table.
Stalking the silent auction table were several partygoers, including local resident Jolee Farro. Farro came to the last ACS event at Greystone Manor, called Keys for a Cure, but she wasn’t lucky enough to snag any auction items. Saturday, she hoped the outcome would be different, saying, “I always support their events, I’ve had many friends who have been through bouts with cancer, some whom have not survived. I’m always happy to support the organization, and I hope I’m luckier this time around with my silent auction bids!”
The evening, which started with cocktails in Greystone’s foyer, progressed to an alfresco dinner on the estate’s gorgeous lawn and finished with a New York style fashion show by celebrity designer Marc Bouwer. Known for his stunning eveningwear collections, the show didn’t disappoint, with models strutting down the runway in jaw-dropping gowns.
From the gowns to the estate’s opulent grounds, the entire event was certainly special. But special too was the cause, with the community coming together to help support finding a cure for cancer.