The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 27, 2004


CEF/CSA Dinner/Dance to benefit Carlisle Schools

This winter has been one of the coldest on the books. The CEF/CSA Dinner/Dance, Carlisle Goes Calypso, on March 13 at the Middlesex School in Concord, promises to raise temperatures with Calypso music and raise funds through a live auction to benefit educational programs at the Carlisle Schools. "The theme was easy to come up with this year," explained Laura Snowdon, chair of the Carlisle Education Foundation. "We've had such frigid weather; it has been fun to plan something while thinking of warmth and sand."

This is the second year the Carlisle Education Foundation and the Carlisle School Association have joined to host the event. Donations from last year's premiere evening funded a mobile MAC lab, reinstated programs such as Student Council, Homework Club, Yearbook, and Math League, supported a reading specialist and language arts curriculum coordinator, and brought back intramural sports.

Brisk ticket sales

Ginny Lamere, in charge of ticket sales, suggested: "People should fill out the form, and come," because the tickets are going fast. Tickets are $75 per person. "I've had women come to my door to try to get tickets at the last minute." The dining hall at the Middlesex School holds only 275 people, she explained.

Fun is the focus

"People were so generous last year donating things for the auction," said Michelle Sobin, CSA Executive Vice-chair. "This year we wanted an event that would be fun, and also give everyone a chance to participate." In keeping with the Calypso party theme, the focus this year is on socializing with a purpose. The evening begins with a cocktail hour including a cash bar and appetizers such as Caribbean-style lobster salad on charbroiled crostini and Japanese-style crab cakes. Though there won't be a silent auction, there will be many opportunities to support the school. Raffle tickets will be sold for five popular items: Principal for a morning, Grand Marshall of the Halloween parade, free dinners and front of the line at the Spaghetti Supper, super tickets to the seventh-grade play, and front row at the eighth-grade graduation. There will be a papier maché palm tree set up by the bar, holding cards with "wish list" items, such as textbooks, art supplies, and musical instruments, all from a list developed by the staff at the school. Guests can pick a card and pledge to support an item on the tree.

Professional, exotic dinner

Dinner, served at 7:30 p.m., is decidedly Caribbean. The menu, developed and delivered by Currier and Chives of Maynard, features fresh fruit, fish, chicken, and dreamy desserts. "This is a very exciting menu," said Andi Gettys, who is in charge of the dining hall. Carlisle resident Anne Wilkes, who is a salesperson and event coordinator for Currier & Chives, was instrumental in making the arrangements for the elaborate dinner. "Currier & Chives has a reputation for providing top notch service and delicious food beautifully presented. It will remind us of warmer climes," said Gettys.

Carlisle's own auctioneer Al Merry gets the crowd worked up at the Dinner last year. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Auction is larger than expected

After dinner, Al Merry, Carlisle's very own auctioneer, will draw the raffles, and begin the live auction. "We are really grateful for all the repeat donors," said Snowdon. "When we contacted the people who donated last year, they were incredibly generous." The dinner/dance committee had started their planning in December, envisioning an event that would be more social and less fundraiser. "We thought it would be a smaller scale auction," Snowdon continued, "but the generosity has been stunning." Sobin agreed. "I think it's going to be an unexpectedly exciting auction." Over 24 items are offered, and there's something for all ages. For active children, the "Tennis Camp Fun" offers a week for one child at the Nike Junior Tennis Camp, while the "Skiing or Snowboarding at Nashoba Ski Area for Four" offers a full day of fun for four friends. Moms or dads can enjoy a "Day of Beauty for You and a Friend" at the Elite Hair Design and Day Spa in Westford, Red Sox vs. Yankees tickets for four, or "Cooking Class for Eight with Rosalie Harrington," led by the nationally famous proprietor of Rosalie's Restaurant in Marblehead. There are trips for the whole family to great vacation spots including Orlando, Chatham Bars Inn, Nantucket Island, Spruce Island, (Maine), or Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.

Take the boat to Spruce Island, Maine. Camp for three or four days and watch the seals swim by. (Courtesy photo)

Group items new this year

New this year is an "instant party" category. Interested group bidders can pick one person to bid and pay, and share the cost and fun of these great events: 15 tickets and personal meeting with well-known comedian Steven Wright; 20 or 30 guests for a dinner or cocktail party; wine-tasting party for 12; catered dinner for 12 by Currier & Chives; wine and cheese tasting by Whole Foods for ten.

After the auction, the party warms up. The tables are pushed back and Hot Like Fire takes the stage, using their smooth steel drums to inspire some southern breezes through the dining hall. The Calypso and reggae music continues until midnight.

There are many other auction items to consider: golf, fishing, plane ride, orthodontic treatment (always popular!). Ticket holders will receive a catalog of auction items a few days before the event. As soon as the auction program is printed it will be available online. Go to and follow the links to the Carlisle School Association.

"Tell people not to wait too long" to get tickets, Lamere advised. There are still some tickets available (last year the event sold out). Order forms are available at Ferns, Carlisle Town Hall or the Gleason Public Library, or by calling 1-978-369-8210. "There aren't many large social events in Carlisle," Sobin commented. "This is a chance to have fun while helping the Carlisle School."

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito