Friends of the Park Gala – An Event to Remember

Friends of the Park Gala – An Event to Remember

On Saturday, February 4th, the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park hosted their annual gala. It was lovely to see so many people in attendance, joining together to support the same cause.

For those unfamiliar, ​​Friends of Virgin Islands National Park (commonly referred to as ‘Friends of the Park’) is the official philanthropic partner of Virgin Islands National Park. The organization is the only non-profit on St. John and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands focused solely on the protection of the Park’s natural and cultural resources.

Guests were asked to park at Cinnamon Bay to catch a shuttle to the event. Upon arrival at Cinnamon, attendees were given a glass of champagne or sorrel juice. Taxis picked up guests and transported everyone to the soiree. The gala was hosted by David and Rhonda McCay at their stunningly gorgeous home, La Vita, in Peter Bay. 

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Stunning views from the event, held at La Vita Villa. Photo by Lois Brayfield.

Partygoers were escorted into the event while the Love City Pan Dragons set the tone for the evening with lively steel drum entertainment. A spirited Moko Jumbie acted as the greeter, dancing and posing with guests at the photo booth.

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Moko Jumbie greets guests at gala entry.

I was delighted to see how many local businesses, residents, and enthusiasts entered goods and services to be auctioned and raffled. The event organizers curated these generous donations into an online auction, in-person live auction, silent auction, and raffle. 

Chef Shaibu served up a variety of hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie, sushi, entrees, and desserts throughout the evening. Multiple bars placed throughout the home provided mixed drinks in gala-branded insulated cups. This attention to detail to find a way to host a luxurious event while still being eco-aware did not go unnoticed. 

Tyler Perrino provided acoustic music as a precursor to the live auction. Auction prizes included villa stays, boat trips, artwork, photography sessions, and many other items and experiences. The friendly auction bidding competition entertained the crowd. 

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Tyler Perrino and friends entertain gala guests. Photo by Lois Brayfield.

Shortly after the auction, while guests were mingling and enjoying the huge waxing gibbous moon, a quick burst of rain came through, sending people for cover. Everyone laughed as they scurried to dry areas of the home. The rain provided a perfect intermission before the final live performance of the night by the Sand Lizards. 

Bummed that you missed the party? No worries! The Friends of the Park Gala is an annual event. 

Don’t want to wait an entire year for your next philanthropic celebration? Make plans to attend the inaugural Island Health and Wellness Center Gala this Saturday!


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