‘Flamingo’ fundraiser for local public schools nearly sold out | AspenTimes.com

‘Flamingo’ fundraiser for local public schools nearly sold out

Aspen Education Foundation event adds two more restaurants to the mix

This year’s Flamingo fundraiser for the Aspen Education Foundation will disperse attendees among several restaurants Dec. 11 rather than the usual gathering hub at the St. Regis Ballroom. The modified format doesn’t seem to have curbed ticket sales, though.

Only three individual tickets and two donor tables of 10 seats remained by the afternoon of Nov. 21, about three-and-a-half weeks after sales opened in late October. That’s “faster than expected,” according to the foundation’s executive director Cynthia Chase, with fundraising bolstered by the addition of an “event sponsor” level.

“It has been incredible,” Chase said Sunday in a phone call. “The ticket sales and that outpouring of support (from) the community has been tremendous. … People love that it’s supporting our restaurants too, and our restaurants are just — they’re so happy to be part of it, and they’re all going above and beyond.”

The event would have sold out already were it not for the addition of two more restaurants to the already-announced lineup.

The Woody Creek Tavern will join a cohort of seven other restaurants slated to host ticket holders for dinner: Betula, Cache Cache, Campo de Fiori, Casa d’Angelo, Monarch, The Wild Fig or Steakhouse No. 316. (Hooch and Meat and Cheese are hosting a cocktail party before dinner and the Caribou Club will host an afterparty.)

And thanks to “a couple of generous parents,” Mi Chola will be reserved exclusively for teachers, who this year can bring guests for the night out. That’s also a new addition.

In the past, when the gala took place at the St. Regis, Flamingo hosted about 80 teachers; this year, with a restaurant to themselves, there’s nearly double the space for educators to partake in Flamingo. Teachers can attend for free; it will be $50 for their plus-ones, Chase said.

“There has always been a teacher component but not this large — this is our largest teacher component,” Chase said.

Most ticket holders will learn which restaurant they’ll be dining at about a week before the event, Chase said; some attendees already know because there was a sponsorship level specific to each restaurant.

Those who are unable to attend a Flamingo dinner but still wish to support the foundation’s annual fundraiser can bid on a silent auction that will open at midnight after the main event, Chase said.

Chase sees the enthusiasm for this year’s fundraiser as a vote of confidence in Aspen’s public school system and the Aspen Education Foundation’s role in it.

The nonprofit funds a number of academic and extracurricular programs as well as student services in the district, including International Baccalaureate curriculum implementation, robotics offerings and mental health support for students.

“The whole feeling of the community about this — I think people are very happy with the schools, I think people are very happy to get out, right?” Chase said. “And so it’s been super exciting. … I think the community feels very confident, and they understand what our role is in the school, and they feel very confident in what we’re doing.”

The few remaining tickets are available for purchase at event.gives/aef21. This year’s Flamingo theme is “Tartan and Tinsel,” the Aspen Education Foundation announced Nov. 20.