Xenophon’s annual gala event took place this past Saturday, March 17th at Diablo Country Club in Danville. It was a special event and proved to be a celebration worthy of 25 years. While Diablo Country Club has an undeniable elegance of its own, the silver trees decked out in crystals, the twinkling trees on every banquet table, the silver and blue accents around every room transformed the already beautiful venue into magical splendor. It was evident from the get go that this was not just another ordinary gala. Perhaps it was Boomer, the baby kangaroo greeting guests as they arrived, or Whitey, the stand-in Xenophon horse decked out in his teal Arabian costume, or the fabulous photo booth full of fur coats and other props to create memories of a fantastic evening. It might have been the 6 harpists from the White Horse Harpers that serenaded during the cocktail hour. Certainly, our evening program, video and guest speakers made this gala one to stand out.
Everyone who attended agreed there was magic in the air. Throughout the early part of the evening there were games to play and fabulous items in the silent auction. The evening program was the highlight. Board President, Trudy Presser, greeted the guests and did a fabulous job honoring our Executive Director, Mari Parino, who was obviously touched by the recognition. A fabulous video, created by Ryan Bergez, took us back in time and recreated the making of a premier accredited center. It was incredible to follow the path from Carole Dwinell’s property to our current location, and the transformation of a grassy field into the quaint barn and arena that saw us through the next 15 years. Finally, a few tears came to the eyes as we saw our little barn bulldozed but replaced by our magnificent covered arena, office building and pipe stalls. Along with that was the pride in our progress as we made the transition to a year-round program and added 3 new programs to supplement Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherpy. It was a trip down memory lane for some and we were able to honor those instrumental in helping the center through these major transitions. This included honoring our Founder, Judy Lazarus. For others, it was an enlightening tale of the making of a successful therapeutic riding center, one that is having a significant impact on the local community.
But, by and large, it was our student speakers who stole the show. Genna Legallet, a Xenophon alumni, had the audience in stitches with her humor and tales of years spent riding at the center. She shared how Xenophon influenced her choice of college and led her to compete in the Special Olympics as an equestrienne. Charlotte Sandford, a current Xenophon student, talked about the ways in which Xenophon has impacted her school life and made her stronger. She encouraged us to keep up the good work!
So many people were instrumental in making the event happen. A huge thank you goes to our sponsors and donors, our volunteers and our gala committee. Many hands worked on decorations, videos, and auction procurement. Xenophon’s staff put in countless hours of overtime. Thank you to one and all who created a memorable 25th anniversary celebration. Here is a list of our sponsors and those who donated to our auction. Please frequent these businesses and say thank you on behalf of Xenophon. We also want to thank Jamieson Ranch Vineyard who donated all the wine for the evening. If you didn’t get a chance to try it, stop by the winery. If you did like it, pick some up for yourself or try some of their other wonderful wines.