- While the East End has had one of the most brutal winters in decades, in one corner of Southampton there was a gentle reminder of better days ahead with the "Spring In Monaco", a gala casino evening hosted by two of the area's most respected charities – The Paul Koster
Memorial Benefit and the Have A Heart Community Trust at the popular Seasons of Southampton
on Prospect Street.
Ann Liguori & Linda Miller Zellner. (John Wegorzewski)
The Paul Koster Memorial Benefit, which raises funds for higher education and trade school scholarships for local high school graduates, once again teamed up with The Have A Heart Community Trust, which provides relief to East End residents in times of crisis for a fun-filled night of gaming, dancing, and fine fare.
On Saturday, March 5, Seasons of Southampton owner Jean Mackenzie
who founded the memorial benefit in honor of her late husband and partner in the family's first business The Clamman Paul Koster
, with her daughter Mackenzie Koster
welcomed hundreds of supporters to their family run enterprise. The historic renovated farm house has in just a few short years become one of the most popular event venues in the Hamptons.
At the door, a smiling tuxedo clad Roger Rutherford
greeted guests at the main entrance where a portrait of Paul Koster by Larry Rivers
was displayed. An iconic Hamptons family, the Kosters were painted four times by their friend, the legendary and much missed painter - who swore by the Clamman and its fresh seafood. Paul Koster was an avid fan of local sports teams who were supported by the Southampton Youth Association. A beloved local figure, Koster could always be found on the sidelines cheering for the children and providing food for the team's year-end parties.
, a longtime supporter of the Memorial benefit manned the raffle ticket table where guests picked up their $100 chip, purchased 50/50 tickets and coupons for the Chinese Auction. Grabbing a cocktail, guests quickly moved to examine the offerings at the Chinese Auction table which was filled with gifts and certificates from local businesses. After entering their coupons into the brightly decorated bags, folks moved on to pore over the many silent auctions which included numerous items of sports memorabilia and paintings work by local artists.
In the main dining room, the sounds of rattling dice, spinning roulette wheels and cries of "Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen" filled the air as scores of supporters took to the tables with gusto. Guests had their options of craps, blackjack, roulette and even a Texas Hold 'em tournament.
Heather Fyfe & Rose Dios. (John Wegorzewski)
As at any party at Seasons of Southampton
the buffet was bountifully loaded with a raw bar featuring the freshest clams, oysters, shrimp, crab and lobster. Cutter Koster was kept busy all night shucking clams at a rapid pace. A beautiful display featured three tiers of "Soup Shots" with a choice of curry sweet potato, English pea and potato leek. Huge roasts of beef and pork were being carved at another table and there was even a whole suckling pig expertly prepared by Wayne Bezubek. Just like at Thanksgiving there were plenty of trimmings and toothsome desserts.
Among those enjoying a great mid-winter break were Have a Heart founders Rose
and John Dios
, president William Wright
, Judy McDowell
and Kim Dressler
and Nancy Miller
, Justin Tortorella
, Scott Vallary
and Ann Liguori
and Kevin Richards
, Cheryl Babinski
, Lindsay Kane
, Ellen Welsh
, Geraldine French
, Trustee Heather Fyfe
, Alex Herzog
and his brother Michael Herzog
and hundreds more,
At the back bar, where Logan Tupper
and Daniel Hoctor
were kept busy shaking up Cosmos and Apple-tinis to the thirsty crowd, Southamptonite Peggy Bousson
remarked, "This is like my high school reunion – I know everybody here".
Such was the feeling throughout the party which had a wonderful community gathering together for not one, but two great organizations that directly serve the local area in very concrete ways.
The Paul Koster Memorial Benefit is devoted to helping young people in the community achieve success in reaching their goals of furthering their education by assisting select organizations and community programs, as well as, awarding scholarships to high school graduates.
The Have a Heart Community Trust was founded in 1991 by Rose and John Dios. Ever sensitive to the needs of those less fortunate, they invited friends for a pasta dinner and asked their guests to bring a bag of groceries to support the local food pantries. Since that founding dinner, The Have A Heart Community Trust has grown considerably. The Trust was established through a Declaration of Trust dated January 4, 1996. However, as the charity has grown and changed, the mission has remained consistent – to help people in our local community thrive by lending a helping hand in times of need and crisis.
Blackjack was a popular game. (John Wegorzewski)