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The “String of Pearls” Riviera Celebration Gala went down on Saturday night.  And man-oh-man did it go down!  The mayor’s gamble, that it would be a blow-away success, could not have been more accurate…or, joyfully, confirmed.  Everyone had just a wonderful time.  Couples danced on into the night to the Glenn Miller Orchestra performance, which was exceptional and amazingly, not too loud to intimidate or deter conversation at the thirty-some-odd tables.

The Town of Linn fire boat pulled up and poured out water from its extremely powerful pumps to add to the enjoyment, and that’s while it was storming outside, which it did on and off through the wonderful evening.  The GSR filmed away from the inside of the party as tickets had been acquired earlier for this event.  Those video presentations are all available on the GSR Facebook site.  Congratulations to Charlene Klein on a job so well done.  About $68,000 was raised for the police and fire departments, and that was before the results of the silent auction took place.

The GSR bid many times but was always outbid on everything. The newspaper’s budget for silent auctions is not that significant.  Joni of Joni’s Diner was there and what a hit in her black sheath she was.   Another council person named Rich Hedland appeared in his tuxedo and signature smile.  He was terrific, as well.  The professional photographer, Thom Hooke was on-site and everywhere, capturing images that no doubt improved the appearance of one and all.  The man is a genius and quite entertaining to talk to at a party.   The Rotary worked the bar as a benefit and those people have got to represent the very best of what is Southern Wisconsin charm and good humor.  Celebrations catered and did a fantastic job, as they usually do.  It was stormy and wet outside but inside the Riviera, it could not have been warmer or more welcoming.

The New Year’s Party is coming.  Get a ticket.  You most probably won’t be sorry.  Charlene knows how to throw a party.  This special gala was so successful that it will now become an annual event.  Although Glen Miller’s band hasn’t been contracted yet for an appearance, the next gala will be on the 21st of August in the year 2022.  The interest that was raised and the atmosphere where these guests, so many of them in later years, just stayed on and on into the night dancing away (sort of reminiscent of what happened in the movie Cocoon when the older people swam in a pool with ingredients that made them younger!).  It was something to see and something to be a part of.  The next coming party, of similar ilk, is the New Year’s Party, again to be offered up in the ballroom, and with a swing band as well.  Look for a sort of different repeat of the same affair that occurred so surprisingly last Saturday night.

Some might think that this kind of event is not worthy of being front-page material but the editorial staff of the GSR would vehemently disagree.  The county, the city, the state, and the nation have been through an emotional and physical experience of crushing proportion, and it is vital that the nation celebrates being alive, its citizens returning to real outdoor and crowded indoor events.  The social nature of the human species is its most successful attribute and survival strategy.  Lake Geneva is responding.  The leadership of Lake Geneva is leading that response in a way that almost none of the voters who put her there could have calculated or predicted.  The String of Pearls is more like a trail of crumbs through a thick and dark forest.

Just up ahead, at the end of the path?  The New Year’s Gala. 




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