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Gala 2013 — A Recap

With the weeks and months of planning, organizing, and executing, it is hard to believe that the Writers & Books 2013 Gala has come and gone – and that it’s already been a week since! The evening went even better than expected, with guests, volunteers, and staff members alike all embracing the Parisian 1920’s theme – and pulling it off perfectly! With live music from The Pick Pockets, W&B student speakers and performances, and an on-going slide show of Hemingway’s world, we were not lacking for entertainment. With scrumptious French hors d’Oeurves, gourmet crepes and grilled cheese paninis, and an open bar, we were not lacking for cuisine and spirits. And with volunteers, board members, staff members, students, and other book lovers alike all in attendence, we were certainly not lacking for company. Simply put? C’est magnifique.  Thank you to all who came and were able to make this event such a success!


Because the night was so special for so many different reasons, most of us here at W&B wanted to share something which made the gala worth remembering. So, here are some of our highlights – each in a few short sentences (with pictures!). Scroll through and relive the evening for yourself. Weren’t able to attend? Read anyway and then take a look at some more of the pictures on our website and Facebook pages!


2013 Gala: A Moveable Feast

“I stepped away from Paris, onto a 14th floor outdoor patio, to find Rochester looking lovely at dusk.” — Karen van Meenen

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 (Above: Guests mingle and pose on the balcony of Nixon Peabody Building, enjoying a marvelous view of Rochester.)

“We could not have anticipated how magical the space would look once the sun set and the bistro lights & street lamp filled the room with soft lighting. You honestly could have been looking out on the Seine. With The Pick Pockets strolling around the venue like traveling musicians, the delicious food, and good company all around, it was an unforgettable night.”  — Chris Fanning

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(Above #1: The dapper Chris Fanning and stunning Kathleen Quinlan pose for a photo; Above #2: The PickPockets serenade guests aside a scene street lamp and 1920’s Parisian slide show)

“Our Gala was a classy, fun & successful event.  We couldn’t have asked for a better location, it worked out so well logistically, and what an added bonus with the outdoor patio – such an amazing view of Rochester’s skyline!   Thank you to our sponsors, board members, volunteers & W&B staff, what a great team.” — Kathy Pottetti



(Above #1: After rain and wind, everyone was able to enjoy the view of Rochester’s skyline while sipping martinis and enjoying friends ; Above #2: Kathy Pottetti and Kristen King pause to snap a quick pic)


“My favorite part of the gala was seeing all the wonderful costumes and outfits guests came up with. While the theme (1920s Paris) had the potential to be a bit kitsch, many of the gala attendees came up with beautiful, fun, and wonderfully authentic outfits! It was really great to see all our guests with excited smiles – and fantastic fringe!” — Kristen King





(Above 1-4: Some of the evening’s most successful dressers!)

“The band was good. The drinks were strong. No one was murdered.” — Greer Nelson



(Above #1: webmaster Greer Nelson let’s us snap her pic before heading back to work; Above #2: Patron guests enjoy a private French wine tasting before the main event.)

“Saturday night was filled with amazing flapper costumes, great food, unique silent auction items, amazing views of Rochester and great company. Best Writers & Books event yet!!!!” — Kathleen Quinlan




(Above #1: Guests browse the silent auction items — Thank you to donors!; Above #2: A shot of the delectable spread ; Above #3: staffies getting silly!)

“It’s so invigorating and satisfying to see the hustle and bustle of guests in their costumes filling the room after months of planning. Everyone looked so gorgeous and authentic, and seeing their enthusiasm for the gala theme and the organization itself makes all the work to put a gala together worthwhile. In the end it was a dazzling evening!” — Alexa Scott-Flaherty



(Above #1: Director Joe Flaherty and the lovely Alexa Scott-Flaherty! ; Above #2: Guests wine and dine Parisian style)

“Everything came together wonderfully and everyone’s (especially Alexa’s!) hard work was rewarded by the guests’ enthusiasm and enjoyment. The scenic setting, design and ambiance, entertainment (The Pick Pockets and student speakers!), as well as everyone’s fabulous, original attire gave the evening a true 1920’s Parisian sense and was a spectacular pay off. As for me, I was able to suspend belief for a few hours and play out my not-so-secret desire to have been a member of the Lost Generation. Drink in gloved hand and not minding the feather from my flapper-headband in my face — mingling with guests, friends, and fellow lit-heads, was magical. The best time I’ve had in ages – between the dazzling martinis, even more dazzling desert crepes, and the most dazzling company, it was all certainly enough of a distraction for me to forget the six sutures I had gotten in my knee cap only hours earlier!” — Rylie Day




(Above #1: crepes! o lala!; Above #2: WAB students shocked us all with their powerful performances; Above #3: Volunteer Ann and staff members Kristen King and Rylie Day dress to impress.)

And by the end of the evening — months of planning, weeks of anxiety, hours of labor, and several glasses of wine later….



— we were all deliriously happy (or maybe just delirious).

Thank you again to everyone who helped us make the 2013 Gala such a memorable evening!
For more pictures (which you can download, upload, tag, and the works) go to one of these two links: