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Best Buddies Gala Has Quickly Become One Of The Must Attend Hamptons Galas

Originally Posted: August 27, 2010

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

Co-hosts Campion and Tatiana Platt with their children, all regaled in the Southeast Asian theme of the evening. (Douglas Harrington)

The real stars of the evening were Best Buddies Marisa Kurliwitz and Brett Banford who warmly greeted each of the arriving guests and thanked them for attending.

Water Mill The theme was Southeast Asian for this year's Best Buddies third Hamptons Gala and there was some fancy footwork going on as well.

Held once again at the home of Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst, this event has quickly grown into one of the major charitable fundraisers of the Hamptons summer season. Considering it is tri-hosted by McInerney and Hearst, Jason and Haley Binn and Campion and Tatiana Platt, it would be hard to consider how it could not become one of the must attend parties on the East End.

By its own definition, "Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities." Continuing the Kennedy legacy of public service in general and the seminal work of his late mother Eunice specifically; Best Buddies in its simplest definition is a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for people with intellectual disabilities founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989 when he was a student at Georgetown.

Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst who generously have hosted the Best Buddies Gala for the last three years at their beautiful Water Mill estate.

Last year Shriver was unable to make the gala because his plane was grounded in Hyannis due to bad weather on the Cape. Beautiful weather abundant, this year he was able to attend and made it a family affair, as he brought along his daughter Carolina and his niece Molly.

A-listers aside, and there were plenty, the real stars of the evening were Best Buddies Marisa Kurliwitz and Brett Banford who warmly greeted each of the arriving guests and thanked them for attending. Banford, who was a contestant recently on the reality dance show "So You Think You Can Dance" did just that, taking to the floor in his tuxedo tails during dinner for a performance with fellow contestant and season winner Jeanine Mason.

Also performing between courses was NYC Real Housewife Countess LuAnn de Lessups who sang her "Money Can't Buy You Class" release accompanied by two male dancers. The performance evoked the feel of a classic Hollywood production number.

Best Buddies founder Anthony Kennedy Shriver with daughter Carolina and niece Molly.

The evening began with a cocktail party on the vast grounds of the beautiful McInerney/Hearst Water Mill estate. There was an abundance of silent auction items on display donated by celebrities from the world of fashion, the arts and politics. There was also a live auction during dinner that featured several original pieces of art by some very distinguished East End artists.

Establishing a major charitable gala in the Hamptons is not an easy endeavor with over 100 major charities vying for a dozen summer weekends, but this event has grown exponentially and was attended by over 240 supporters this year. As McInerney noted, "I told them it wouldn't be easy, but we seem to have established ourselves. There are a lot of great causes in the Hamptons to support and we are grateful that so many of these good people have chosen to support Best Buddies."

Among the many notables at this year's event were Emma Snowdon-Jones, Chele Chiavacci, Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Hunt Slonem, Marty Richard, Peter Tunney, Nancy Corzine, Wayne Diamond, Cornelia Bregman, Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane, Robin Cofer, Sonja Morgan, Debbie Bancroft, Harry Hurt III, Martin and Jean Shafiroff and polo player Nic Roldan, among many others.

Brett Banford took to the floor during dinner for a dance performance with fellow "So You Think You Can Dance" contestant Jeanine Mason.

Long time Best Buddies supporter Jimmy Nederlander of the iconic Nederlander theater family donated tickets to three Broadway shows and Yankee tickets for the silent auction. He has attended each of the three Hamptons Best Buddies galas and said, "It is an amazing cause and you are helping people all over the world, so we are in!"

Originally started as a university charity, Best Buddies has grown to include a high school division and has spread around the world to over six continents serving 700,000. This is a charity that is certainly easy to get behind as supporters literally get back as much as they give as Shriver explained, "I really think having a connection, a friendship with a person with special needs really enhances your life in ways that you never thought was possible."

For more information go to www.bestbuddies.org.

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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