LAHAINA - The Aina Nalu Wine and Silent Auction Fundraiser was a huge success. Event proceeds support the Lahaina Complex After School Tutor Project founded by Richard and Pat Endsley of Lahaina.
Sponsored by People for Educational Equality - as well as LahainaTown Action Committee; Rotary Clubs of Lahaina; The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; and many others - the event was held at the Pavilion on Aina Nalu at 660 Wainee St. on May 25.
It rained right before the event, but that would not put a damper on the evening. In fact, the short shower put a gleam on the grass. The lights strung around the space (provided by Russell Nielson of Hawaiian Style Event Rentals) reflected beautifully in Aina Nalu's infinity pool.
Aina Nalu Wine and Silent Auction Fundraiser attendees browse the silent auction items.
The decorations were elegant, and the ambiance was perfect for a night of mingling - and most importantly, giving!
Waiters passed around pupus provided by Luis Fuentes from Island Catering, Betty's Beach Cafe, Pioneer Inn, Take Home Maui, CJ's Deli & Diner, Lahaina Yacht Club, Fleetwood's on Front St., The Bakery, Koa's Seaside Grill and Ono Gelato, helped by Fundraiser Committee members Debbie Arakaki, Liz May, Connie Stevenson and People for Educational Equality Board Member Flo Wiger.
The crowd was thrilled to find that some of the waiters were Maui business professionals and owners of local businesses.
The Endsleys, Mayor Alan Arakawa, State Rep. Angus McKelvey and Sen. Roz Baker spoke at the event, encouraging those present to bid on the array of silent auction items.
The mayor invoked a bit of humor during his speech by jokingly inviting the crowd to, "Buy something - even if you don't need it, buy something."
The event fostered a spirit of giving among its audience. It seemed many were excited about the chance to make a winning bid.
At the end of the evening, Eric van Ketel of Zensations Spa, past president of the Rotary Club of Lahaina, said, "I can't wait to see what I've won!"
Sen. Baker said, "This event is exactly what 'Maui No Ka 'Oi' is all about!"
Lee Potts, who founded People for Educational Equality with his wife, Barbara, was the master of ceremonies, while well-known Hawaiian musician Sam Ahia entertained the audience.
There was an impressive array of wines from all over the world donated by local businesses and individuals. Many chose to sample and drink their wine from the commemorative wine glass they were given upon entry to the event. Maui Brewing Company also donated an assortment of locally brewed beers.
Richard and Pat Endsley, along with Lee and Barbara Potts, thanked all the donors, volunteers and attendees.
Richard said that he was "overwhelmed at the amount of talent displayed by the volunteers and Fundraiser Committee members. They are a wonderful team!"
"We could not have had such an outstanding fundraiser event without your incredible support. We are so blessed to have so many people who care about the education of our keiki and our tutoring project. A huge mahalo to all of you," said Pat of the volunteers.
Liz May of AAAAA Rent a Space in Honokowai said that her efforts as a committee member were "a true labor of love benefitting education. I believe (this fundraiser is) one of the best causes in our community."
The goal was to raise $20,000 to beat the 2011 event's $16,000 total. Barbara said, "I am almost positive we have done it. As much as five days after the event, donations are still coming in."
One of the Fundraiser Committee's most active members, Brandie Henderson, said, "I can't wait to get started on the next (event). Some are already saying it will be bigger and better than this year's."