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Night of dreams

Highland Springs sparkles at annual gala

Created date

November 20th, 2012

As a young woman, Tish Pickens worked at a diamond store on a military base exchange in Okinawa. When an Indian shop opened at the exchange, she found herself mesmerized by a light blue sari in the window. It was just gorgeous, says Tish. I didn t buy it, but I went in the shop and picked up instructions on how to wrap it. I ve kept those instructions ever since, telling myself that someday I would wear a sari. Fifty-five years later, Tish got her moment. The sixth annual Highland Springs gala was the perfect occasion to debut a coral-colored sari. My husband Myron was a bit dubious at first, says Tish. He asked if all the ladies would be wearing saris. But the flood of compliments soon dispelled his concern. She looks beautiful, says Myron. It s her night to shine. Wearing a sari was the last item on my bucket list, says Tish. I m glad for the opportunity to check if off, but now I ll have to start a new list.

Puttin on the Glitz

Tish s sari wasn t the only outfit glittering at the gala. This year s theme, Puttin on the Glitz, encouraged residents to dress in their black tie best. I think this was one of our nicest galas to date, says Community Resources Coordinator Barbara Blachly, who spearheads the gala planning committee. We ve been planning it since last year s gala, and everything came together very well. Partygoers walked the red carpet as they entered Hillcrest Clubhouse, which was decorated with lavish bouquets of white roses. Gold table linens, sparkling lights, and a mirrored backdrop created a rich, inviting atmosphere upstairs in the dining room. Guests dined on their choice of cognac filet or pan-seared halibut. Highland Springs resident Jack Melick and his orchestra provided musical entertainment for the evening. A silent auction and moonlit carriage rides rounded out the evening s offerings. For many residents, the gala is a family affair. This year, Wayne Lewis had four generations of his family together for the evening. We ve been to every gala, says Lisa Lewis, Wayne s daughter-in-law. It s something we look forward to each year. We wouldn t miss it. This year s gala raised over $40,000 for the Benevolent Care Fund. Highland Springs is a not-for-profit community dedicated to supporting residents who experience an unforeseen change in financial situation. Should a resident s finances change for reasons beyond their control, Highland Springs Home for Life Commitmentprovides several options to protect their future. (Ask to see the Residence and Care Agreement for details.)

Dance the night away

Frances Price has been on the gala planning committee for the past four years. With a background in the fashion industry, Frances knows firsthand the degree of planning that goes into such an event. I used to plan style shows, says Frances, who got her start as a retail buyer for Neiman Marcus. The success of an event like this depends on the leadership. We re very fortunate to have great leaders in Barbara and Joyce [Cates, restaurant manager]. Our staff is the reason the gala is such a success. Frances, who stayed until the last horn was tooted, says the gala brings the community together. I hadn t danced in 40 years until I moved to Highland Springs, she says. Now I m out on the dance floor with everyone else.