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Foundation’s Moonlight Roundup shines

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
Summit Daily/Reid Williams As gala-goers left the big tent, the 20th anniversary Moonlight Roundup ended with a fireworks show, set against a full moon.
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SILVERTHORNE – It’s Friday night. As the valet takes your car, hosts wearing cowboy hats direct you to a barn where select musicians from the National Repertory Orchestra perform. Wine and cheese tempt your palette.When you’re ready, one of the 17 Colorado Mountain Express shuttles reserved for The Summit Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration at Sharon Magness and Ernie Blake’s Triple Creek Ranch north of Silverthorne drives you up the dirt road, past a small pond, a reclaimed old Swiss cabin and fields of grass and wildflowers to the main event.The enormous tent looms like Denver International Airport, dwarfing the large pond beside it.

Inside the tent, tens of thousands of crystal beads drip down, complementing light-golden fabric adorning the canvas ceiling. Faux columns set off the glistening crystals as well as the stage, where four crystal chandeliers hang. Roses, sunflowers and green foliage sprout from aspen trunks at each table.”Everything’s so perfect, from the cops (directing traffic) on Highway 9 to the bathrooms,” said Keystone resident Jana Hlavaty. “I encouraged everyone to go to the bathrooms long before they had to.”Indeed, the bathrooms stand out, garnering rave reviews from nearly everyone who visits. Technically, they are Port-A-Potties, but once guests enter the trailers, it’s easy to forget. Four wooden doors hide the porcelain, fully-flushing toilets. Green faux marble walls accent the faux wooden floors. Only bug spray on the countertop hints guests are “roughing it.”Back in the tent, Matt Renoux from Channel 9 emcees the event, joking guests may need a GPS unit to find their tables. Once the 500 guests sit down, Epicurean Catering presents a gourmet meal – a tenderloin and peach cobbler.

“It’s beautifully done – first class – everything from the shuttles to the feel of the tent and the dinner, and I think Sharon and Ernie’s generosity and donations to The Summit Foundation have been incredible,” said Silverthorne resident Donna Horii.After dinner, select recipients of grants from The Summit Foundation entertain the crowd. Summit High School 1998 graduate Michael Bunchman performs six pieces on the piano. Four actors from the Lake Dillon Theatre sing tunes from “Oklahoma.” The Summit Foundation presents “Then and Now,” an artistic documentary by Wendy Wolfe about the nonprofit’s history.

Throughout the evening, key people involved in The Summit Foundation appear on stage, including Art Bowles, who originated the idea 20 years ago.”It just makes my heart sing to see Art Bowles up there,” said David Peri, founding board member. “He is one of the unsung heroes in so many ways. In those early years, it was a tremendous challenge, but he believed in (the foundation).”Overall, the guests outshine the top-shelf venue, decor, food and entertainment. Overwhelming support of The Summit Foundation led to a sellout of the 20th anniversary celebration within three weeks. “The genuine passion and emotion of everyone here for The Summit Foundation (stands out),” said Breckenridge resident Sharon Schowffield.

“It’s wonderful, because there are so many locals here that we haven’t seen in such a long time,” said Nancy Follett, president and member of the board of trustees.”The sense of community- this is what Summit County is about,” said Silverthorne Councilmember Peggy Long. “The people that are here tonight are the soul of the Summit.”Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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