“Just a little lobstah for a good cause,” to quote Marisa Binder, who helped organize an event for the CORA (Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse) Fundraiser held at The Great Highway in San Carlos, California.
I’m a Maine lobster fan from way back, but never have I seen anything like the feast put on by this venue! The visual of the service will remain in my mind forever… it was more of a performance than a food service!
One minute we were sitting at the table enjoying cocktails and the next a well-orchestrated crew of professionals ran into the place with boatloads of lobsters and side dishes of prawns, spicy sausages, cobs of corn, potatoes, onions, and artichokes, topped off with loaves of French bread. We were instructed to pick up our drinks and stand back. Right before our eyes, a long white tablecloth was whisked atop the long table followed by the magicians who ran along both sides scooping the cornucopia to the center of the table.
The catering company, Monterey Cajun Coastal Catering, is owned and operated by a delightful woman, called Bridget, from New Orleans who enjoys bringing an authentic Southern experience to people in Northern California using her own family recipes. Since 1990 she has been helping charitable organizations with a unique way to raise money and have fun doing it – that is if you have the nerve to do a Cajun Throwdown! She’s cooking for six hundred next week! Now that takes some guts. Six hundred!
With our mouths watering we sat back down and commenced the feast! But not before Frank Bizzarro, auctioneer extraordinaire sold the privilege of being the first table served to the highest bidder. I don’t know exactly how many tables there were at this sold-out event, but there were a lot – two hundred and eighty people attended. Frank set the tone for the fundraiser with his entertaining, no mind-boggling, talent as the most amazing auctioneer on the planet. Well, I haven’t seen them all but I can’t imagine anyone topping his performance. You can learn more at:
http://www.bizzarros.com/ (650) 368-2001
If you want to raise money for a cause, do it with a live auction conducted by Frank and his crew. You will raise funds! The total isn’t tallied yet, but my hunch is that the goal was exceeded!
The owner of the Classic Car warehouse known as The Great Highway in San Carlos (more like a museum really) is Gary Pollack and the Event Director is the beautiful and talented Rozalyn Mendence. What a team! Not only did they provide the venue which has an extensive gambling casino on the second floor as well as Roz’s Diner on the main level, they chose to give all the proceeds to CORA. It is their custom to conduct an annual fundraising event with the beneficiary being a local organization deemed worthy. Roz goes to great lengths to find an appropriate recipient which she has done for the last five years. In addition, after all the tear-down and clean-up, she gathers up the leftovers and donates them to Saint Anthony’s Church.
Roz plans the annual fundraiser date around three things:
* Availability of Frank Bizzarro, the auctioneer
* Availability of Monterey Cajun Coastal Catering
http://cajuncoastalcatering.com/ (831) 521-9959
* Date of the Super Bowl
The work starts well before the event and continues well after. You would never know it by the seeing the glamorous super-star at work at the event! She looked like she just walked the red carpet and she worked the microphone and the crowd like a seasoned pro.
I’m not sure whose magic was at work when the host of our little airline group, Dr. Bill Binder, bought the basket of Mickey Mouse watches. There were several of us ex-TIA stews under his capable wing! In addition to his beautiful wife, Linda LeVien Binder, there was Catherine Nevin, Anne Ryan, and yours truly, Carole-Jean Sanders. Sure, we were laughing about his purchase until Catherine took a look and decided she would look good wearing a Mickey Mouse watch. And then I took a look in the basket and found one I had to have. Now we were fighting over the Mickey Mouse watches!
Good thing the San Mateo Chief of Police, Susan Manheimer. was there in case we got out of hand. Yes, folks – the Top Cop of San Mateo is a “SHE!” She spoke about how grateful her department is for the CORA folks and how much appreciated the funds are! She carried herself with elegance and grace, but I wouldn’t mess with her…I could feel the power within. She did say she was originally from New York. Maybe she grew up in the same Brooklyn neighborhood I did – gotta be tough to survive that!
By the way – Roz is expert at planning all kinds of events, including weddings, birthdays and anniversaries of all sizes. Check out the website and call her!
http://gpclassiccars.com/ (408) 250-4366
You will be glad you did!