Klieg light beams crisscrossed the night sky as Porsches gleamed below. Inside, music thumped and cameras flashed. The glam scene was set for Near & Far Aid's Oscars-themed Spring Gala, hosted Friday night by Mitchells of Westport.
The smartly dressed crowd was treated to a Hollywood-inspired welcome at the landmark retailer with a red carpet and a Joan Rivers lookalike who encouraged new arrivals to pose for paparazzi-style snapshots. Several were joined for a portrait by "Dancing with the Stars" personality Tony Dovolani, serving as a co-master of ceremonies for the annual fundraiser.
Guests spilled into the store, bedecked with gold star-shaped balloons, "life" Oscar statuettes on pedestals, food and drink, and silent auction items ranging from sports memorabilia to exotic travel. Waiters worked the crowd offering, among other treat, Oscar-shaped cookies.
Mary Thornton of Fairfield and Sarah Hale of Norwalk, the gala co-chairwomen, bid attendees welcome. Among the gala highlights that followed were a dance pairing of Dovolani and Near & Far Aid board member Kim Meier, and a showing of the latest fashions from several designer collections. The fashion show was introduced by Bob Mitchell, the store's co-CEO, and Bitsy Higgins, Near & Far Aid's president.
A live auction, hosted by Dovolani and Alisyn Cameroa of Fox News, offered for bidding things like a trip to London and an excursion of Italian vineyards.
The audience engaged in spirited bidding, all for the benefit of the non-profit organization and its support for programs that address poverty in Fairfield County. Two guests, in particular, Rob and Cindy Citrone, displayed great generosity by offering to match funds raised by the live auction up to $150,000.
To learn more about Near & Far Aid and its programs, visit www.nearandfaraid.org