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Group For The East End ’Green Gala’ A Sustainable Success

Originally Posted: June 20, 2010

Designer and Green Gala Co-Chair Nicole Miller (center) with Debbie Bancroft (left) and Paula Roman. (Eileen Casey)

Sagaponack - The Group for the East End's "Green Gala" took place on Saturday, June 19 at Wölffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack. Drawing a huge crowd of well-wishers and supporters this gathering not only thinks, eats and lives green - but also spent some serious 'other' green on luxury auction items.

Eco-green model and Generation Green Co-chair Summer Rayne Oakes.

Cocktails began at 6 p.m., during which time guests were allowed to enter their bids on a myriad of silent auctions items, from artwork to cleaning supplies to golf clubs to spa treatments to clothing, jewelry and other accessories - all advocating green practices, ingredients and lifestyle.

At 7:30 p.m. a seated three-course Dinner and Live Auction were held, with Dessert and Dancing provided by Henry Haid and The Only In America Band, who made sure guests got up on the floor so they could bogey and bogey until there was just no bogey no more.

This year's Green Gala highlighted the local produce, products and production of the East End through a farm-to-table approach with the farmers, growers and chefs who utilize and promote the fabulous East End bounty. Local chefs James Carpenter, Tom Schaudel, Michael Ross and Brian Fishman created a three-course dinner featuring delicious food from the farms and waters of the East End paired with wines from Wölffer.

James Lipton with his wife Kedakai Lipton.

The mission of the Group For The East End is to "Protect and restore the environment of eastern Long Island through education, citizen action and professional advocacy. Established in 1972 as Group for the America's South Fork, the organization has been inspiring East Enders to embrace and act upon a conservation ethic for 38 years."

Felicia Taylor acted as Honorary Master of Ceremonies, and encouraged and recognized all those in attendance to keep up the commitment to eco-friendly green lifestyle. Co-Chairs included Gabrielle and Louis Bacon; Alec Baldwin; Harris and Helen Barer; Katherine and W. Marco Birch; Carlotta and Bill Bryan; Carolyn and Greg Hoogkamp; Cynthia and Daniel Lufkin; Deni and Bill McChesney; Susan and Louis Meisel; Erin and John Nida; Dee Dee Ricks; John and Cynthia Shea; Jackie and Peter Schellbach; Nicole Miller and Kim Taipale; Mary and Ken Walker. Generation Green Chairs were Anna and Ari Meisel; and Summer Rayne Oakes.

Generation Green Co-Chairs Anna and Ari Meisel with Co-Chairs Susan and Lou Meisel.

The menu was outstanding, featuring North Fork Clam Fritters, Montauk Yellowfin Tuna, Riverhead Bison Brochettes and other specialties that highlighted the bounty to be found here on the East End.

The charming John Maroney and Tom Janczur who kept our table mates entertained.

Held under an enormous tent on the grounds of the beautiful Wölffer Estate Vineyards, dinner guests were treated to delicious foods with a farm to table approach, paired with vineyard wines and topped with the added treat of monitors placed around the tent featuring montages and short films about the work the Group is involved with in the pursuit of 'keeping it green.'

The evening included short speeches in support of the work the Group has undertaken, as well as accomplishments that have been achieved. Following dessert the live auction began and here 'green' of a different sort was equally on display.

The auctioneer began and urged all attendees to dig deep as it were for such luxury items as a Spirit of Taos Eco-Adventure for six (valued at $27,000), "Loosha in Blue #2" by artist Gary Komarin (valued at $25,000); Eco Play in Ambergris Cay - Turks & Caicos (valued at $10,00); an Afridcan Eco Safari for two (valued at $26,550), and a Newport Luxury Sail for six (valued at $30,000).

Wendy Diamond is all smiles.

For those with bank accounts that may not be growing quite as quickly as their vegetables, live auction items also included a golf stay at the Majestic Ashford Castle in Ireland (valued at $3,000); as well as a "priceless" Montauk Canyon Fishing trip for four. Some attendees may have turned green with envy at not outbidding the Farm-To-Table Wine Tasting for Eight, whereby Chef James Carpenter would provide a slow food menu of seasonal delights, paired with wines personally chosen by winemaker Roman Roth (valued at $5,000).

Guests were additionally urged to sponsor an Eco-Camp for at least 120 children at $500 per child, so that they might learn to protect the environment, and have the opportunity "to study habitat, groundwater resources, animal survival, shoreline dynamics and so much more."

With more than 50 silent action items to chose from, with opening bids for as little at $150 (dinner for two at Tutto Il Giorno) to as high as $10,000 for a vintage soda fountain, there were indeed goods and services offered to please the tastes of just about everyone in attendance.

The evening was a great success for an organization that reminds all of us to take a few minutes, make some good choices, and act with vital consciousness and necessary sensibilities regarding what contributions you can make to sustaining Mother Earth.

For more information go to www.eastendenvironment.org

Henry Haid and The Only In America Band played favorites cover tunes all evening that kept guests showing their moves on the dance floor.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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