On April 22nd, a misty, slightly chilly spring evening, guests were transported to the tropics for the sold out Havana Nights event, presented by OPUS for Person-to-Person. The décor, food, drinks, and music all evoked a night in Cuba. Guests arriving to The Tokeneke Club in Darien were encouraged to buy raffle tickets for a fedora or flower for their hair, with a chance to win fabulous prizes thanks to donations from Wee Mondine, CPC Childrenswear, Harlan Social, BMW and others. The cocktail hour featured authentic Cuban music by the Quimbombo Trio, and many guests enjoyed cigars hand-rolled by Connecticut Cigar Company from the cigar bar sponsored by William Raveis throughout the evening.
The spring gala is the largest fundraiser of the year for OPUS, a group of Darien-area women dedicated to raising critical funds for Person-to-Person (P2P). The funds raised by Havana Nights will specifically support P2P’s programs that directly benefit our communities’ children: Camperships, the Holiday Toy Store, Baby Basics and Scholarships.
The evening also featured a silent auction with 41 incredible curated packages generously donated by more than 100 vendors and services. The live auction was emceed by auctioneer CK Swett, featuring six enticing getaways and party packages. Before the auction, a Person-to-Person representative, Carmen Nieves, spoke compellingly about what the organization had done to enrich her life and the lives of so many others. Guests imbibed Mojitos and “Cuban Crushes” during cocktail hour. Guests enjoyed mar y tierra ala mojo (beef and red snapper) with roasted garlic yucca, congri and mango salsa for dinner, with a caramel flan for dessert. Guests danced the night away with tunes from beloved band The Sultans. When it was time to come home from their Cuban escape, guests went home with colorful treat tins donated by Kirby and Company.
“I loved seeing the expressions of our guests as they arrived and took in the Havana-esque scene our committee created,” says Lisa Bishai, Board Liason, OPUS for Person-to-Person. “More than anything though, it was gratifying to know that the tireless work of the dedicated, talented women of OPUS would improve the lives of the children in our community. It was an enjoyable night for guests, but the children we helped is what this event is all about.”
Photographs by Cheryl Moss