A sold out crowd of more than 430 attended the 21st annual "Wine & Roses" Gala on Saturday (Apr. 25) evening. Benefitting and hosted at the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House in Fort Smith, the event included a full night of gourmet food and wine, art showcases, live music, auctions, and beautiful flowers.
Upon arrival, guests walked the red carpet and into the center's foyer, where they were greeted by a large arrangement of pink roses, which helped set the theme for the evening. Bouquets of roses in every color were also featured throughout the venue, purchased in honor or memory of a loved one who battled cancer.
Numerous wine stations and bars were also set up throughout the support house, giving guests the chance to sample a wide variety of wines, provided by In Good Spirits. While sipping their vino, guests could browse the work of more than a dozen regional artists.
A variety of mediums were featured, including photography, oil and watercolor paints, jewelry, and woven baskets. Artists included Terra Butler, Sydney Clayton, Emily Ezell, Jane Hartfield, Brandon Jones, Stephanie Lee, Peter Lippincott, Steve Payne, Vickie Rumsey, Jason Sacran, Sean Shrum, Lyn Snider, and Bob Snider. Several of the artists were in attendance at the gala to chat with guests and share about their work. The pieces were also available for purchase in the silent art auction.
Food was served by Fort Smith-based River City Deli.
A change to this year's event included moving the always-popular live wine auction, headed up by father and son team Jim and Michael Hadley, to the outdoor patio area. In previous years, the auction had been hosted in one of the upstairs galleries, but was relocated downstairs to allow more guests the opportunity to participate. The duo work throughout the year to secure wines for the auction, which includes white and reds from private collections and rare bottles of some of the finest spirits in the country.
Several fun party packages and unique experiences were also offered in the live auction, including a Wyoming Fishing Trip, and a "Craft Beer/Growlers/Cigars BBQ" for up to 20. The first package up for bid was the chance to learn about a "Day in the Life of Garrett Lewis," KFSM TV-5's Lead Meteorologist. Following the auction, guests took to the dance floor to enjoy the tunes of the group Wingnut.
In addition to the live and silent auctions, tickets were sold for the chance the win an elegant Rolex watch. Wine & Roses committee members advertised tickets prior to the event and at the gala, offering guests and those unable to attend a shot at winning the timepiece, valued at $8,700. Individual tickets were $10 or six for $50. The watch was generously donated by Newton's Jewelers in Fort Smith.
Mike and Shawna Burgess served as the event chairs for the 2015 Wine & Roses. Tickets for the black-tie optional gala were $100 and included dinner, drinks, dancing and the opportunity to participate in the evening’s live and silent auctions.
All proceeds from Wine & Roses benefit the Cancer Support House, which provides local cancer patients access to emotional support groups, items for hair loss from cancer treatment, financial assistance, transportation assistance to and from treatment, and other specialized needs. Services are offered at no cost to the patient. Currently, the organization serves 5,200 active cancer fighters and survivors, ranging in age from 11 months to 92 years old. The center is the largest free-standing cancer support facility in the country.