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WHBPAC’s Be Our Guest Gala Is A Stunning ’West Of The Canal’ Success

Originally Posted: August 24, 2010

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

The Trevor Davison Trio performed at the event, which was catered by legendary chef Starr Boggs. (Douglas Harrington)

Westhampton Beach - Generally, the most stunning parties during the Hamptons summer season take place east of the Shinnecock Canal, however, that was certainly not the case when it came to the Be Our Guest Gala in support of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC).

Novelist Helen Simonson was in attendance with husband John Simonson, CFO of the Export-Import Bank.

It is hard to believe that this is the first full blown gala ever thrown by this popular East End performing arts center, but it was and it was nothing short of fabulous. The fete was held at the beautiful and historic Seafield Estate on Quantuck Bay in Westhampton Beach, which is now owned by Len Conway, Chairman of the WHBPAC Board and the evening's host.

As guests walked the manicured catalpa tree lined drive they were returned to the Hamptons of understated elegance and 20th century charm and glamour. Built between 1900 and 1903 for coal baron William C. Atwater, the mansion was designed by Henry Bacon, the same architect who created the Lincoln Memorial and who was a member of Stanford White's firm, McKim, Mead and White.

WHBPAC's Board Chairman and the evening's host, Len Conway, thanking supporters who joined him at his Seafield Estate home.

The gala evening began with alfresco cocktails and sumptuous hors d'oeuvres on the Seafield Estate patio with a sunset panorama that was breathtaking as guests were serenaded by the Trevor Davison Trio. Catered by legendary chef Starr Boggs, guests were treated to lobster rolls, grilled shrimp, baby lamb chops and fresh local clams and oysters at a fabulous raw bar before heading off to exclusive dinner parties in a dozen private homes, each uniquely themed by generous local hosts in support of WHBPAC.

The benefit co-chairs were Patty Allen and Lorrie Gordon and the committee for the event included Linda Kaye, Tara Liddle, Pat Middleman and Robin Nijankin. Greeting each guest personally was WHBPAC Executive Director Clare Bisceglia. The Advisory Council is headed up by Mary Skillern who also serves on the WHBPAC Board and is credited with being the driving force behind WHBPAC's first venture into the very competitive genre of Hamptons charitable galas. A competition, at least west of the canal, in which they have certainly made an impressive maiden foray as over 200 attendees shared cocktails and conversation.

Executive Director Clare Bisceglia with board and advisory committee member Mary Skillern are all smiles against the panoramic backdrop of Quantuck Bay.

Special guests at the benefit included best selling authors Helen Simonson whose "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" garnered the rare six-figure advance for a first novel along with its well deserved critical accolades and Margaret M. Johnson who penned "The Irish Heritage Cook Book" and "Tea & Crumpets." Also in attendance were noted chef Andrea Glick of Le Bernardin fame and ESPN and WFAN golf and tennis commentator Ann Liguori, who also served as a dinner party host.

The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is a rich cultural resource for all East Enders, no matter which side of the canal. From music, to dance, to film to educational programs for young and old, it serves as a vital venue for the arts and, after this gala, a "save the date" on everyone's summer Hamptons event calendar.

For more information go to www.whbpac.org.

Over 200 guests attended WHBPAC's first Be Our Guest Gala cocktail party on the grounds of the Seafield Estate in Westhampton Beach.

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline


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