It was nice to be transported to a tropical island paradise, with flowers and colorful leas everywhere the eye could see. And the steel drum music played by the Steubenville and Catholic Central steel drum bands was quite fitting for the occasion as well.
This happened at St. Florian Hall on May 2, a nice way to glide into the month. It was sponsored by the Family Service Association for the second year - so good the first time, they decided to do it again. The celebration was to raise funds for continued services to families in need.
Rick Hicks, Big Red steel drum band director, and Eric Zalenski, Catholic Central steel drum band director, did a tremendous job with the musicians who were quite enthusiastic to perform.
WINNER AND SON — The grand prize of a seven-night stay at Tidewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Fla., was won by Joel Walker. He was quickly joined by his son and his steel drum friends — all of whom were hoping to go along on the Florida trip. Gathering for a photo are, kneeling, from left, Charles Massie and Noah Mcallister; and standing, Jared Norris, Brien Beattie, Joel Walker, Jacob Walker and Bryan Brown.
-- Esther McCoy
HAVING FUN — There was much hilarity at the table with Beth Rupert-Warren’s crew. They were having what a calypso celebration is supposed to have, and that is fun. Doing that were, seated, from left, Sharlene Anderson, Betty Drzayiani and JoAnn Sauvain; and back, Linda Hopewell and Rupert-Warren.
-- Esther McCoy
ALL DRESSED UP — From left, Bob and Karen DiPietro and their friends, Nancy and Harold Hanlon, are decked out for a calypso celebration. The DiPietros had bright orange leas, and the Hanlons wore flower neckwear.
-- Esther McCoy
IN THE SPIRIT — From left, Scott Campbell of M&M Hardware with his wife, Becky, and Jim Dawson get in the spirit of the calypso fiesta with Scott wearing a lea.
-- Esther McCoy
SPONSOR — GPC Contracting of Wintersville was a gold sponsor for the Calypso Celebration. James Speece, standing, GPC manager, is shown with Amanada Spence, seated left, and Jacinta Brown. The couple won several prizes during the auction.
-- Esther McCoy
A young lady from Central wore a tropical print top over her gold T-shirt, and a young man wore a derby hat and sun glasses, looking very chic. I was impressed that Zalenski was playing steel drums during their entire performance.
The Big Red musicians got into the rhythm with some songs, as they jumped about in time to the beat. Hicks was walking among the players and giving encouragement, and one young man wearing a baseball cap turned backwards caught my eye.
The Rev. Vaughn Foster gave the invocation, and James Morgan, dressed in an eye-catching print shirt, served as the emcee. He would start to recite a joke and stop because it would be too colorful with young people in the audience. He finally told one that was acceptable, but I can't remember it.
Todd Piergallini and his staff did a great job with the food. There was pork barbecue, fruit kabobs and mousse with a lime twist on top, along with loads of other great dishes.
The television sets situated high on the walls at St. Florian were showing some of the young clients and told about the services and those who contributed to the cause.
David Lamb, president of the board, and Brian Swickard wore bright orange shirts that had them standing out in the crowd of print shirts. Lamb thanked the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board and the United Way of Jefferson County for their financial assistance and guidance during difficult times.
"They are an asset to the community and an integral part of what we do here at Family Services," he said. "We are here to praise our employees, volunteers, board members and the calypso event planners for their service to this agency and our community. It has been an honor for me to have served on the Family Services board for the last 18 years, and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication and professionalism."
Along with GPC Contracting being the gold sponsor, the silver sponsors were:
Eastern Gateway Community College, Jody and Carolyn Glaub, McCarl's, Trinity Health System and Hindman Family Companies.
Bronze sponsors were: Barium Chemicals Inc., Checker Transportation, Dominic Teramana and Hollywood Plaza, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Frank and Jerry's Furniture, Shawn Blake, M&M Hardware, Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority, Steubenville Electrical, Tri-State Financial Services and Voto Maufacturers.
Ticket sponsors were Dan Obertance, James McGrail and Swickard Insurance Agency.
Event contributors were Borden Office Equipment, Dunlope-Shorac Funeral Home, Hauser Furniture, Howard Bowers Contracting, McBane Insurance, McJunkin Red Man Corp., Prichard Consulting, Valley Converting and WalMart Distribution Center.
Diana Smoljanovich, Family Service executive director, and Beth Ruppert-Warren, United Way of Jefferson County executive director, gave overviews of the FSA and highlights of what was happening in the agencies.
Family Services provides a variety of services to individuals and families, aimed at strengthening family life and enabling individuals to function to their highest potential, it was noted. The services include mental health, representative payee, guardianship and day care.
There was a Chinese auction for great baskets and a prize that everyone in the audience was dreaming about - a seven-night stay at the Tidewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Fla. The last four ticket-holders were called to the front for an exciting conclusion. The four tickets were put back into a container and the last one to be drawn was the winner of the get-away. Dorothy Farrister, Kathy Birkhimer, Joel Walker and Diana Smoljanovich stood there with their hearts beating in double time awaiting the drawing.
Smoljanovich and Walker were the last ones standing, and when Diana's name was called, Joel knew he was the winner. He was joined immediately by his son, Jacob, and many of his steel drum friends, with all of them wanting to go along on the trip.