El Rio fundraiser not your grandma’s black tie party

September 2, 2014

by Brad Poole

El Rio Vecinos Kathleen Hudson and Mike Rodriguez will be the group's Black Tie Block party Sept. 27. Will you?

El Rio Vecinos Kathleen Hudson and Mike Rodriguez will be the group’s Black Tie Block party Sept. 27. Will you?

Black tie affairs might bring to mind rooms full of staid elders gripping Champagne flutes and whispering about the opera, but the upcoming El Rio Vecinos black tie block party will shatter that image.

Wear your crazy socks and get ready to shake it, because the fundraiser for El Rio Health Center’s dental program is not your grandma’s black tie party. In fact, you probably don’t need a tie at all, though bow ties are encouraged. There will be a DJ and a band, not an orchestra. Drinks include infused vodka, margaritas and Champagne, and there will be a photo booth for selfies – with immediate digital access for Facebook and Instagram sharing duh.

The proceeds will help El Rio cover dental care for low-income children, said Kathleen Hudson, a Vecina who is helping organize the event. The group is kind of molded after the athletics fund-raising megalith Tucson Conquistadores, but for a younger set and a different cause.

“Our cause will always be El Rio Health Center,” Hudson said.

And they’re bringing a lot to the table this time around. The expected $100,000 raised by the block party will go toward fluoride treatments. It’s a preventive measure that can avert much bigger problems that come from a lack of dental care, said El Rio’s Development Coordinator Jill Rodriguez.

“We want to keep kids out of the emergency room,” Rodriguez said.

An arborist will spruce up the Manning House grounds before the Vecinos Black Tie Block party. Look for an amazing setting.

An arborist will spruce up the Manning House grounds before the Vecinos Black Tie Block party. Look for an amazing setting.

The party will be at El Rio’s newly acquired world headquarters – Manning House, 450 W. Paseo Redondo. El Rio saved the spectacular 1907 mansion from foreclosure this summer, and the black tie fund-raiser is the inaugural event in the new digs. The sprawling, grassy, tree-encircled courtyard will be the center of the action.

The lively Sound Bytes will provide live sounds, with DJ Beaker filling in the quiet moments, so wear your dancing shoes. A ridiculously long list of sponsors (here’s all 40-plus) will offer raffle prizes, so get some tickets. You might end up with a temperature controlled wine cabinet, some time at a resort or time share, or something similarly awesome. Who doesn’t want a La Encantada gift basket?!

The Vecinos, which translates as neighbors, is a young professionals’ group that aims to support the El Rio Foundation. The group is comprised of college graduates from age 25-39 with at least four years of full-time work experience. Their key goals include support for each other in worklandia and making sure El Rio gets the support it needs.

Mike Rodriguez, who will shoot and produce a video at the party, joined the Vecinos recently to make friends and business contacts. The group helps keep his creative juices flowing.

“It’s nice when you can get together in a meeting room and bounce ideas off each other,” he said.

For more information about the block party or to get tickets, go to the El Rio Black Tie Block Party website. Because El Rio is a non-profit, the cost of tickets is 70 percent tax deductible. If you want to be a Vecino, get in touch with Dan Chambers at (520) 909-6821 or danchambers6314@comcast.net.

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