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Polo Ponies

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Polo Ponies by Andrea Damewood

From champion-level players to devoted amateurs, the marriage of a rider and his horse in polo is a bond unrivaled in sports. Memo Gracida, perhaps the best polo player in the world, checks on them before he sleeps. Pablo Llorente, president of the Argentina Polo Players Association and a top breeder, says that a good pony makes all the difference in competition.

Elite players are so attached to their best ponies—bred for speed, agility and demeanor—that today they’re willing to pay upwards of $100,000 to harness new technology and clone their most beloved horses. Spearheaded by the cloning of renowned Argentina player Adolfo Cambiaso’s star stallion Aiken Cura, the practice of creating replica ponies for play has been growing steadily over the last five years.

Daniel Juarez, a head pro and former breeder based in West Linn, Ore., calls it “probably the most interesting and exciting thing” happening in the polo world. He pointed to the recent US Open in Florida, where Cambiaso played two clone horses. Llorente says that the best horse he’s ever seen play is Cambiaso’s mare Cuartetera. She’s been cloned as well, with her offspring playing in matches today.“It’s awesome to see four or five clones of one ‘crack’ playing together in a match,” Llorente says.

The cloned horse, created from the cells of a top equestrian athlete, will resemble its predecessor right down to the markings—which may not be exact, but will certainly be in the same place. Players have found that despite being raised at a different time or in a different environment, these “children” of the original pony will have the same athletic ability, temperament and disposition.

But the high cost of cloning means the majority of polo ponies are still being bred via embryos carried in a surrogate mare, as they have been for the last couple of decades, Juarez explains. That allows the top mare to continue playing in matches while the colt spends the four or five years it needs to be fully trained under the care of another mother.

And no matter how the pony is born, players—many of whom can own dozens of horses and play nine different ponies in a game—are looking for specific characteristics. Historically, polo horses were about 14 hands tall; today, they range in the 15 to 16 hand range. Juarez says his top mare, Dairy Queen, is just over 15 hands.

“She’s the complete package,” he says. “She’s compact, powerfully built, she’s got speed, and she’s got the ability to change directions without even thinking about it. I don’t even have to think about what I do, I just do it.”

Training, veterinary care and nutrition have all improved tremendously, players say. Former Governor of the USPA Pacific Coast Circuit, Glen Holden, says, “The biggest change in polo in the last ten years has been the quality of the horses. In the early days of American polo, many of the ponies resulted from the breeding of ranch mares to Thoroughbred stallions. In contrast, many of the polo ponies today are Thoroughbreds from the racetrack.

A well-built horse of a player’s dreams includes physical characteristics—known as a pony’s conformation—including large muscling in the hindquarters, strong, clean legs and a supple neck. A good feature is a close-coupled back, which allows for those critical tight turns during play.

Training is also key. Experienced breeders know that even if the pony has the best athletic ability, it still has to have its skills harnessed and broken to the demands of polo play. Those early years are spent training and conditioning a horse to “accelerate to full speed, change direction or slow down to zero in the shortest distance,” Gracida has said.

The horse must also be able to act as one with its rider, and must be conditioned to “have patience and perseverance and to play and play and play,” Llorente says.

Horses are brought on slowly: players will put four-year-olds into club chukker matches and really immerse them in tournament play at six. A pony isn’t considered “made,” or completely trained, until it has has two full seasons of polo. The time and effort of training and care mean starting with a well-bred pony that has success in its very genes is of utmost importance.

“The horses are paramount,” Juarez says. “They’re the most important thing. You can overcome a lot of deficiencies in other parts of your game if you’ve got top horses.”

The Sport of Queens

By | 30th Anniversary Season, Just For Fun, Polo History, Polo Stories | No Comments

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The Sport of Queens by Andrea Damewood

Nowadays, the sight of a woman charging down a polo pitch at breakneck speed, her legs thrown on each side of her pony as she flies after the ball is a gloriously common one—especially as female riders make up the fastest-growing segment in US Polo today.

In 1908? Not so much.

That didn’t stop Eleonora Randolph Sears of Boston. As sugar magnate John D. Spreckels built up the storied polo fields and stables on Coronado Island in the early 1900s, players from all over the United States and the world were drawn to the top notch play—including Miss Sears. The renowned athlete was among the glitterati who spent warm winters taking in tournaments near the Hotel del Coronado, according to research by the Coronado Historical Society.

ERS polo 1910 Coronado- Library of Congress

Sears, a national tennis champion and early advocate for women in sports, visited Coronado annually from 1908 to 1917, and spent each trip advocating for women’s tournaments—an effect that is felt by the ever-growing ranks of female polo players more than 100 years later.

“Miss Sears, who has attracted considerable attention at the Hotel del Coronado during the recent tournament by her mannish riding costume and fearless riding is enthusiastic over the proposition” of women’s polo teams, the Union wrote in April 1909.

And while she was never successful in organizing an all-women’s event in Southern California, she did blaze trails by playing in a coed match in Coronado in March 1915, playing with two women on each side with a man deployed as defensive back. It marked her the first woman to play polo on a men’s team.

Eleanor Sears

Her brash flaunting of gender norms guaranteed her enraptured newspaper coverage: Such as the fact Miss Sears rode astride instead of side saddle—and she did it wearing pants. “Mounted in costume Miss Eleonora Sears appeared on the polo fields of the Coronado Country Club yesterday afternoon and promptly became the center of interest,” the Tribune reported on February 19, 1915. “Dressed in polo boots and breeches, a great polo coat reaching to her boot tops and a large black slouch covering her hair, Miss Sears is with difficulty distinguished from the men polo players.”

And perhaps that was Miss Sears’ point all along, say the ladies who play the sport of kings today.

“Once you step in the arena, we become equal and only your merit and ability matters,” says Julie Empey, an arena player with a rating of one. “There is something beautiful about standing around a group of men that may normally intimidate me hearing them say that they are scared of me in the arena!”
Nicole DeBerg, a San Diego player, says the face of polo in America is changing. “Just like enrollment of women in colleges, the number of women playing polo is steadily increasing,” DeBerg says. “At the San Diego Polo Club for example, membership of women last year exceeded 40 percent.”

Along with the competition and constant challenge of growing as a player, Sue Landis says that she also has relished the opportunity to build vast networks across the globe through polo. Landis, a United Kingdom Women’s Open Polo and the Women’s World Polo Championship winner says that lifestyle element along with the sport is what keeps her coming back.
“As a woman, I love the family focus in polo – it’s great when my daughter can join me at a game, either behind the scenes, or at the après polo celebrations,” says Landis, who lives in San Diego and will play with the Hollywood Girls Polo Team this year.

Empey says the most intense games she has ever played were women’s tournaments. “I think when women go out and play, they are so used to giving it all—just trying to make it in a man’s world,” Empey says. “We are serious and we want to be taken seriously. We know if we work hard, we can be respected as an athlete.”

It’s a future that Miss Sears, who died in 1968 at age 86, would have been delighted to see. “What the suffrage leaders did for the political status of women, the Boston maid has done for women in the realm of sports, rescuing them from stupid age-old fetters of tradition,” a publication noted.

And despite the long way women polo players have come since the days Miss Sears played, current riders say they can’t wait to see what the coming decades hold.

“If the current trend continues, maybe someday the sport of the kings will also be referred to as the sport of the kings and queens,” says DeBerg, “As in my mind, any woman competing out there in a sport as tough and dangerous as polo, royalty or not, deserves the title.”

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Polo Player and Wife Welcome New Baby Girl, but Wait… There’s More!

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San Diego Polo player Nick Mariuz and his wife Sarah just welcomed a baby girl into their lives. But you’ll never guess what happened next. We are excited to share this news with our polo community. Congrats Nick and Sarah! We can’t wait to meet your beautiful baby girl.

Repost from People Magazine.

Identical Twins Give Birth at the Same Time on the Same Day: ‘We Can’t Wait for Them to Grow Up Together’

Identical twins Sarah Mariuz and Leah Rodgers have shared everything from clothes to toys over the years, but never did the sisters think they would give birth on the same day – let alone at the exact same time.

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The 35-year-old women both welcomed their firstborn children into the world on June 30 at 1:18 a.m. in their respective cities. Rodgers gave birth to Reid Joseph in Denver, Colorado, one hour before her sister’s baby, Samantha Lynne, was born in La Jolla, California.

“It’s that magical twin connection I suppose,” Mariuz tells PEOPLE. “There have just been certain things in our life where things just match up – it’s odd.”

She adds, “We didn’t plan being pregnant at the same time. But our journeys aligned, even giving birth! Twins have a special bond, it’s hard to explain.”

The sisters told each other they were pregnant at a Thanksgiving family get-together.

“I wanted it to be a surprise, but when she showed up at the door – it was the funniest thing – I opened the door, welcomed her into the home, but as soon as I saw her, I knew she was pregnant too,” Rodgers tells PEOPLE. “I can’t explain it, I just knew. My prediction was that she was five days behind me, and it turned out her due date was four days after me.”

When Mariuz and Rodgers exchanged ultrasounds they “laughed so hard.”

“I was like ‘Oh my gosh, shut up!’ ” says Rodgers. “We stood there and giggled and our family was in complete shock. It’s just one of those things that’s totally possible, but when it’s confirmed, it’s so crazy.”

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The sisters also celebrated their pregnancy months together – giving each other daily text updates and phone calls – and even had a joint baby shower with pink and blue cakes.

“It’s a really cool thing to be able to share,” says Rodgers. “The adventure will only continue as our babies share the same birthday like we did! We can’t wait for them to grow up together.”

Rodgers says her family started a group text thread when the two women went into labor around the same time.

“When my sister’s husband got the text about Reed being born at 1:18 a.m. he apparently shouted at the doctors, he couldn’t believe it!” Rodgers says with a laugh. “It was literally the exact same time.”

“It’s just really special,” says Mariuz.

Identical Twins Give Birth at the Same Time on the Same Day: 'We Can't Wait for Them to Grow Up Together'| Birth, Real People Stories, The Daily Smile

Mariuz’s daughter, Samantha Lynne /Courtesy Sarah Mariuz and Leah Rodgers

Reid Joseph and Samantha Lynne haven’t met yet, but the sisters can’t wait to bring their kids together.

“I’m sure they will have a deep bond because of their birthday timing,” says Mariuz.

Q & A: Snake Oil Cocktails

By | Event, Just For Fun, Wedding | No Comments

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We sat down with our fav craft cocktail pourin’ friends over at Snake Oil to talk about what makes them so great besides their delicious concoctions, cool vibe and oh-so-ah-mazing presentation.

Snake Oil, tell us, what makes you unique in your field?

We believe memorable beverage experiences come from an abiding appreciation of all the senses. We understand how just the right drink, at the right time, has the power to build lasting and transformative sense-memories. Our cocktail craftsmen build extraordinary bar and beverage experiences because we ask the right questions and listen to our clients. We look to the kitchen and to the farm and we employ sound culinary technique based on years 
of beverage experience. Underlying our work is passion, and a deep-seated respect for the five fundamentals of culinary mixology: Simplicity | Seasonality | Quality | Creativity | Taste

So does that mean our signature drink would be a summery cocktail garnished with tiny flowers and have an equestrian feel to it?

That’s right! We can do it all. We love the opportunity to work with clients and couples in the early stages to help create an unforgettable craft bar experience and to help tell their story through cocktails. The unique customization our mixologists can do with craft cocktails is absolutely incredible!!!

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You guys do great work and a lot of weddings, right? What is your favorite thing about weddings in particular?

The fact that each event is absolutely unique. No two weddings are the same — not even close!!! The diversity in wedding experience is incredible and there is no formula for the perfect wedding. I love how weddings bring people together to celebrate the lives of two different people and their friends, family and culture. I appreciate all the small details from the custom signature cocktails to the calligraphy on the place cards to the arrangement of the florals… in my view it’s the curation of the details which create the convivial spirit that makes for the best weddings.

We totally agree! Do you have any tips for the bride and groom out there?

Couples we meet often think that the entertainment they hire is the most important part of the wedding experience…. More times than not, however, it is the bar experience where the real entertainment is; not the wedding planner. Remember almost none of your guests will meet the wedding planner or the caterer if they are doing their job right. But your guests will have interactions with the bartenders. It is surprising how often the beverage catering and the bar experience is overlooked in the planning stages. Based on my experience I can assure you that after your wedding starts, the bar is the last thing that your guests will ignore so why not create something worth their talking about.

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You guys are the best! Thanks so much for taking the time to tell your story and encourage our clients to get creative with their event through curating delicious beverages.

For more information about hiring Snake Oil for your next event, visit them online at SnakeOilCocktail.com, email events@snakeoilcocktail.com, or drop them a line at 858.754.9173

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Ice Skating at The Inn at RSF

By | Just For Fun, Uncategorized | No Comments

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Our neighbors at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe are celebrating the holiday season with cheer and family fun! Guests will be transported to a winter wonderland with The Inn’s outdoor synthetic skating rink. Guests can enjoy skating in the Ranch under the allure of festive twinkle lights and the lighting of the stately 20-foot Christmas tree on the front lawn of The Inn. Starting December 19, the hours are open from 10am to 9pm, Monday through Sunday. The fun lasts until January 4, 2016 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Father Joe’s Villages.

December 19 – January 4

  • Monday – Sunday, 10:00am – 9:00pm

Cost per session (including skate rentals)

  • Ages  12 and over $18.00
  • Ages 11 and under $15.00
  • Groups of 10 or more receive $2.00 off per person
  • Skating session is 3-hours in length

More information: www.theinnatrsf.com/ice_skating/

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About Father Joe’s Village

As San Diego’s largest homeless services provider, Father Joe’s Villages offers a wide variety of housing and services at several locations. They also prepare up to 3,000 meals and provide a continuum of care to nearly 1,500 individuals every day—from infants and adolescents to adults and seniors. This includes over 150 children and over 200 military veterans. As industry thought leaders, they offer effective tailored-to-client solutions to address the complex needs of the homeless, regardless of age, race, culture or beliefs. Their primary goal is to transform lives and end the cycle of homelessness.

To this end, they provide housing, rental assistance, healthcare, food, clothing, education, job training, mental health, addiction treatment and child development in an internationally modeled “one-stop-shop” approach. Their mission is made possible only through the efforts of compassionate staff, dedicated volunteers and generous public and private donors.

More information: http://my.neighbor.org/

Sweet Reunion

By | Just For Fun, Polo Stories | No Comments

In the hands of an experienced rider, the mallet becomes an acrobat, says 15-year-old Maya Tantuwaya, who has never forgotten her first.

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Around January, our growling Ford pickup crunches through the dirt road beyond field five of the San Diego Polo Club and pulls to a stop in front of our eight-horse trailer, lonely from six months’ abandonment. Dad and I forget our differences to jump out of the truck, and he fumbles with the key to the built-in tack room. I explain my hollow ambitions to keep an accurate inventory of our jungle of English saddles, intricate bridles, and the bouquet of polo mallets fanning out of a red water bucket like dry spaghetti. I make the same vow every year but never follow through. Ignoring me, Dad turns around to engage a passing horse groom in polite conversation, using his clumsy Spanish, as he reins in his cluster of six horses. He pretends to have known the groom all his life, even though I’m the one who spent an entire summer out riding with him in the mornings. Raymundo and I have become close friends, despite the language barrier.

Organizing the mix-up of mallets, my hand catches the woven cream hand loop of one of them. Up and out comes my very first mallet, separated from the tangle of chapped leather and spray bottles quarter-filled with the syrupy remains of what used to be fly spray. The threadbare rubber wrap on the grip still bears the unsavory whiff of sweaty palm, but there is bliss in curling my hand around the mallet’s end. Fencers and tennis players think of their foils and rackets as an extended arm, while the polo player’s weapon of choice harmonizes the momentum of man and horse into a scything stroke that sends the ball sailing tens of meters over the cropped-grass pitch. The wedged mallet head is clumsy, and its fine cracks and scratches are masked by duct tape, but its bruises bless it with the beauty of something from a (civilized) battle. The bony grip provides no leverage – that all comes from the player’s arm and hips in the swing. The cane itself, a 52in shaft of manau palm wood with a honeyed glint, stands dormant and straight. In the hand of an experienced horseman, it’s an acrobat – flipping to a 90-degree angle when hooked by another mallet and flicking with the fluidity of a dancer into backbends. Balanced upon the slender stalk is the mallet head – worn and covered in vein-like cracks and grass smudges. It still grasps the cane with snug stability. I covered the smooth wood with checkered tape and two skinny bands, but even the tape is frayed at the edges. The head, cigar-shaped with a diagonal wedge cut out of one end, was the pride and joy of my 11-year-old self. In stamped print, the initials MT, decorated with forest-green paint on the ends, declared my presence on the playing field. To swing it was to boast a coat of arms with the prowess of a cavalier. How I’d catapult across the fields, adrenaline clenching my stomach while I inhaled the essence of leather and dewy grass. Or at least that’s what I would fantasize.

The graceful lance is stiff with sleep, stained with memory of play some years before, when I could hardly manage to hit the uneven, plastic ball at a benign canter. Bouncing on the back of my short-legged bay, I’d shrug my heavy helmet into place, only to feel the front visor fall over my brow once more. The mallet would twirl, wild with the combination of the force of the horse and the languid noodle of my arm controlling it. Grazing the tender blades of grass or clunking my pony’s forearm with the mallet, I’d focus really hard until a solid clunk reverberated off the sweet spot, propelling the dented hunk of a ball forward. Well-balanced and dependable, the polished mallet soon became an acquaintance of mine. But the progression of time dulls all glory into a jejune bronze plaque inscribed with memory. Time to rebel against the accumulating dust and leave behind the nostalgia. Dad, meanwhile, is still stammering in Spanish, and Raymundo seems slightly amused by it. I twist the loop of the initialed mallet around my thumb and adjust my right hand. Even after years of inaction, it is usable – so long as I replace the tacky and frayed duct tape on the head.

Written by 15-year old Maya Tantuwaya and printed in Hurlingham Polo Magazine’s Winter Issue. Maya and her father, Lokesh have played at the San Diego Polo Club for many years. Photo by Siegel Thurston Photography.

More information about Hurlingham Polo Magazine, visit them online at hurlinghampolo.com

Holiday Craft Cocktails

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Woodford Reserve Holiday Cocktails

Who doesn’t love a tasty beverage around the holidays? Impress your father-in-law/colleague/boss/girlfriend with a few delicious cocktails everyone will enjoy.

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The Chukker

2 oz – Woodford Reserve
.5 oz – Sherry
.5 oz – Vermouth
2 dash – Miracle Mile Chocolate Chili Bitters

Build: In a mixing glass add all / add ice / stir 40 revolutions / strain
Glass: Coup
Garnish: Cherry

Woodford Reserve Holiday Cocktails-Elijah

The Elijah

2 oz – Woodford Reserve
.75 oz – Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz – Ginger Syrup
2 each – Thyme

Build: In cheater tin add all / add ice / shake/ fine strain over ice
Garnish: Thyme Sprig
Glass: Double Old-Fashioned

Woodford Reserve Holiday Cocktails-Champage-Spritzer

Champagne Spritzer

.5 oz – Honey Syrup
.5 oz – Lemon
Korbel California Champagne

Add Honey and lemon juice to glass. Fill with Korbel California Champagne.
Garnish: Fresh Raspberries
Glass: Flute or Coup

Woodford Reserve Holiday Cocktails-Sport-of-Kings

The Sport of Kings

2 oz  – Woodford Reserve Rye
.75 oz – Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz – Honey Syrup
3 – Strawberries
4 – Sage Leaves

Build: In a cheater tin add strawberries and 3 sage leaves and muddle / add all / add ice / hard shake / fine strain over fresh ice
Glass: Double Old-Fashioned
Garnish: Sage Leaf

Please enjoy responsibly.

Photos by: Arielle Vey

San Diego Polo Club Wins Match in Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships

By | Event, Fashion, Just For Fun, News, Polo Fashion | No Comments

On Saturday, October 24th, nearly 12,500 spectators attended the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower, taking in all of the sights and sounds of the “world’s most interesting polo event.” This year’s attendance set a new one-day record. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, the event featured some of the world’s best polo players. Six competitive polo teams traveled to compete in three highly-contested matches, including the San Diego Polo Club. Some of the players included top American player Nic Roldan of the Aspen Valley Polo Club, top ranked player Andres Camacho of the Arizona Polo Club, collegiate player of the year Kareem Rosser, and Wales’ top rated player Pete Webb.

The day’s festivities included more than just polo. Fans also took advantage of The Canine Couture dog fashion show, the Larsen Art Gallery LIVE Art Auction, the World’s “Longest” Catwalk Fashion Show, and a preview of the world famous Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. It also featured ballroom dancing field side for the first time ever, as well as a Phoenix Symphony quartet performance along with play, and a High Tea Tent by The Phoenician. This year also saw the debut of the Triyar Ivy League Lounge, packed throughout the entire day with over 1,000 people dancing and drinking in a nightclub like atmosphere.

The first match on Saturday began at 11:00 AM with Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction Company Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson making the first drop in the match between Polo Azteca and Club Polo Cabo, presented by One & Only Palmilla of Los Cabos, Mexico. In that match, Club Polo Cabo beat Polo Azteca, 9-8, and was led by the play of team founder and San Diego Polo Club member, Tony Yahyai.

In the match that followed, local favorite Arizona Polo Club took on rival San Diego Polo Club. Six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken made the first drop to get the exciting match started. Despite the tremendous play of Andres Camacho in the match’s second half, San Diego Polo Club beat Arizona Polo Club by a score of 9-3. San Diego Polo Club’s first half lead proved too much for Arizona Polo Club to overcome. Alvaro Tadeo led San Diego as he executed both offensively and defensively.

The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships’ Featured Match presented fans an opportunity to witness two of the world’s best polo teams face off against one another. Defending champion Clogau Wales Polo Team, featuring players Ricky Cooper, Pete Webb, and Roddy Matthews, faced Aspen Valley Club, led by Nic Roldan, Melissa Ganzi, and Juan Bollini. The Phoenix Suns’ Tyson Chandler, an NBA Champion and Olympic gold medalist, provided the first drop for the day’s most thrilling match. From the start, Aspen Valley dominated their counterparts and won 9-5 to be crowned the new champions of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. Roldan scored six of Aspen Valley’s nine goals.

In one of the most unique elements of the day, the Phoenix Symphony provided the musical backdrop to one of the featured match’s chukkers. Fans were regaled with classical music all while witnessing the two teams take on one another.

“Even though we weren’t able to defend our title, the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships have become one of my favorite polo events to compete in,” said Clogau Wales Polo Team captain Ricky Cooper. “It was a great crowd and we enjoyed ourselves fully.”

Starry Starry Night 2016 to benefit Voices for Children

By | Charity Event, Dining, Event, Just For Fun | No Comments

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Voices for Children’s 13th annual Starry Starry Night gala was held on Saturday, September 19, 2015, at the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe. Co-chairs for the event were Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare, and the theme was “When You Wish Upon A Star.”

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Janice Dodge transformed the polo fields once again with garden glam styling as the evening sky transitioned from sunset to starlight. More than 340 supporters of Voices for Children gathered for sumptuous craft cocktails, curated by Snake Oil Cocktail Company -and paired with savory bites designed by Andrew Spurgin, LTD and Culinary Concepts Catering.

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The sparkle of dotted garden lights strung over luxurious lounges and tablescapes of deep blue and crisp white. The evening was designed to create an intimate gathering around a central stage to focus on the heartfelt success stories of the children helped by VFC and an exciting live auction. Starry Starry Night grossed a record $1.37 million and netted $1.13 million to support the life-changing work of our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) who advocate for San Diego County foster children in Court, in schools, and in the community.

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Following a delicious dinner and fundraising activities, guests found their way to a dancefloor brought to life by the music mix of DJ Brandon Noel and his team of live club performers. Favorite late night treats were donuts and “cereal milk”, meant to remind us of the kid inside us all! Rentals supplied by Raphael’s Event Works. Technical support provided by Meeting Services, Inc. Event Design, Decor, Florals and Logistics provided by Janice Dodge, Inc.

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Voices for Children transforms the lives of abused children by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). We believe that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and to that end, will review and monitor every court file in the system, provide a CASA to every child in the foster care system who needs one, and advocate to improve the lives of foster children. In addition, Voices for Children increases awareness about the foster care system, and advocates for legal policies and practices that enhance the quality of life for foster children.