After an 11-year hiatus, Cope Family Center returned to a Celebrity Waiter format for its gala fundraiser, held on May 10th. The Blue Plate Special included both a silent and live auction, plus reception activities, table games, and spontaneous additions, all largely conceived and produced by the Waiters themselves.
“It’s a contest,” said Development and Marketing Director Harmony Plenty, “because the Celebrity Waiter who raises the most “tips” at the event wins the title of Head Celebrity Waiter. But the Waiters of course were truly motivated by raising funds for Cope’s family support and child abuse prevention services. And they also wanted their guests to have a good time.”
This year’s Celebrity Waiters included Stacey Biagi of Biagi Bros. and Tiffany Kaiser of Allied Propane; Yountville Mayor John Dunbar; jewelry designer Kevin Friedman; Platypus Tours owner Kathy Glass; Dick Grace of Grace Family Vineyards; Iren Jenny of Hope’s Chest; Will Marcencia, owner of Wine Down Media; Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza; Mike Purvis of Purvis Consulting; Napa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Travis Stanley; Truchard Vineyards’ Anthony and Suzanne Truchard; and Mel Engle of Engle Strategic Solutions who reprised the role after serving as Celebrity Waiter in 2006.
Both the evening’s Executive Chef and its Auctioneer were long-time Cope supporters. Yountville chef Bob Hurley, who first donated his expertise to Cope 30 years ago, came out of retirement to design a diner-inspired three-course dinner for guests and Auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski was a Celebrity Waiter herself at a past Blue Plate Special.
Event sponsors included a number of businesses with a presence in Napa Valley: Carneros Studio Napa; Mechanics Bank; Rabobank, N.A.; Oscar and Denise Renteria of Renteria Vineyard Management; the Doctors Company; and the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Laird Family Estate and Truchard Vineyards were wine sponsors and Charbay Distillery and Perfect Puree of Napa Valley provided cocktails for the reception. “We so appreciate the way these members of the local business community stepped up to support Blue Plate Special,” said Cope Executive Director Michele Grupe. “The underwriting from our sponsors is what makes it possible for more of the evening’s proceeds to directly benefit our clients.”
At the end of the night, the competition for the title of Celebrity Head Waiter was too close to call. Once the final calculations were tallied over the weekend, Dick Grace was crowned the 2019 Head Celebrity Waiter, with Alfredo Pedroza in second place, closely followed by co-Celebrity Waiters Stacey Biagi and Tiffany Kaiser in third. With that sorted out, Plenty commented, “Congratulations should go to ALL of our Celebrity Waiters. Collectively, they helped raise just shy of $200,000 at our Blue Plate Special! I know they all worked so hard and we truly appreciate the effort, thought and passion they put into helping make the event so successful.”
“It was really thrilling to be there that night and see it come together,” said Grupe. “The Waiters brought in such creative and exciting auction lots and their guests responded so generously.It was a wonderful grand finale for Cope’s Blue Ribbon Month campaign.On behalf of the children and families we serve: thank you to everyone who was a part of Blue Plate Special!”
For more event photos click here.