Friends of VINP Eighth Annual Gala Scheduled for February 4


Only 100 raffle tickets, for $50 each, will be sold for the chance to win this gold link and emerald necklace, at right, and matching earrings.

It’s time to pull out those dresses and dust off those fancy shoes.

The Eighth Annual Friends of V.I. National Park gala is set for Saturday night, February 4, and the event promises to be one of the group’s most exciting soirees in recent years.

From the setting — Michael and Judy Skurnik’s stunning villa Marea on the very point of Ditliff Point — to the music, former Steely Dan guitarist Jon Herington is just one of the performers on tap for the night, the gala is sure to be a night of elegance and entertainment.

Don’t feel like driving? Friends will be running two shuttles from the Cruz Bay dock after the 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. ferries arrive. Or guests can park along Ditliff Road, where there is actually plenty of parking space, and shuttles will be running along the roadway to pick up gala-goers, explained Friends’ development director Heather Ruhsam.

“No one will have to walk far,” she said.

The fun kicks off at 6 p.m. with cocktails at Marea overlooking the sea. Enjoy the sunset and peruse the bevy of raffle prizes available.


Guests will be able to choose which prizes to try their hand at, by dropping tickets into baskets in front of each raffle item.


“There is everything from boat trips to art work and gift certificates around town and dining packages,” said Ruhsam. “We’re also working on some special items for the raffle as well.”

One very special item is already available to view at Mongoose Junction. Rudy Patton of R&I Patton Goldsmithing has created an exquisite necklace and earrings set for Friends. The set, valued at $4,200, consists of a hand-crafted 18 karat gold large link chain necklace with 66 karats of polished emerald nuggets and matching gold large link chain earrings.

Friends will be selling only 100 raffle tickets for the necklace and earring set for only $50 each. Raffle tickets for the R&I Patton jewelry set are available at Friends of the Park Store, at Friends’ office in Mongoose Junction and at Connections in Cruz Bay.

“Get them before they sell out,” said Ruhsam.

If there are any of the 100 tickets for the necklace set not sold by February 4, they will be available at the gala as well, Ruhsam added.

In addition to the exciting prizes available, the night is also going to be full of outstanding music as well. Steely Dan fans will not want to miss the band’s former guitarist Jon Herington, who will perform with his ensemble the Jon Herington Band. Local favorite In the Sand Band will also be entertaining the crowd at the gala.

The evening will also feature delectable fare to keep those dancers going throughout the night. Mathayom Private Chefs/St. John Catering is once again taking care of the culinary side of the night, so the food is sure to impress. And there will be no chance of suffering from thirst. Vintages are being provided by Skurnik Wines with other beverages being supplied by Premier Wines and Spirits.

Tickets for the gala are $200 each and the funds go to support all of the great work Friends does all year long, explained Ruhsam.
“We like to take advantage of the night to thank our supporters by throwing a great party, but the money we raise at our premier fundraising event goes to support the many educational programs we host,” said Ruhsam.

Friend would like gala attendees to RSVP by January 27 if possible. For more information or to purchase tickets call Ruhsam at 779-4940.