Our very own Discovery Center hosted our spirited celebration this year for the first time since 2012. Vines climbed the walls, cobwebs covered the ceilings, a mummy lurked in the halls; from every direction the creepy crawlies transformed the Discovery Center into a Haunted Mansion. Upon entry, guests were greeted by Cousin It’s friendly wave and a champagne wall with floating hands reminiscent to the ever-eerie Thing. Weaving their way through the haunted halls, guests found a variety of Addams Family inspired fun.
The Pollinator Garden was reimagined to serve as Gomez’s Rooftop Golf, where our well-dressed guests could test their swing with homemade seed pods and Taylor Made Driver’s. Sharing the space was our transcendent tarot card reader who offered brave attendees’ insights and wisdom into their past, present and future by reading the stories written within her otherworldly cards.
Bartenders at the Mansion Bar, generously sponsored by Project Management Advisor’s Inc., kept the fun flowing with incredible vintages and varietals donated by the local Pegasus Estate Winery, spirits donated from Venom Vodka, Henebery and Maker’s Mark, beers from Pizza Port and of course our signature drink of the evening - Pugsley’s Punch.
The space our guests normally know as the Great Room became unrecognizable, undergoing an extreme makeover to become Gomez’s Study. This lounge boiled and toiled with trouble featuring a fireplace complete with spooky lighting and a bubbling cauldron dripping with mysterious fog. It was the perfect place for party goers to relax and enjoy the indulgent offerings of Maker’s Mark, Henebery and Payne and Mason at our Hand Rolled Cigar Bar and Whiskey Tasting Table. Guests were rapt with attention as one of Payne and Mason’s own talents demonstrated the detailed art of Cigar rolling, something we know that Gomez himself would be struck captivated by.
Tango dancers, fashioned convincingly as Gomez and Morticia, performed the emotional and expressive dance with the back patio acting as their dance floor. The guests mingling among them became their surprised and delighted audience.
The path that Nature Node #6 normally calls home, was overrun by the dead, transforming into a haunted graveyard boasting tombstones created by talented artists from our local high schools and a cemetery bar with refreshments to die for.
All this excitement of course had our guests hungry for more and Farmhouse Catering was happy to curb their cravings with delicious tray passed appetizers and a beautifully crafted four course dinner that delighted the taste buds. Our Parking Lot doubled as our ballroom this evening, decorated incredibly by our décor chair Nicole Medrano, and audio and visual extraordinaire, Cindy and Mike Metts of Dudek making the evening come together.
Dinner was accompanied by a series of incredible speeches by our fearless leader Lisa Cannon-Rodman, our master of ceremonies Neda Iranpour, our chairwoman Rachel Ivanovich, and our fabulous special guest Kelly Cardenas. We thanked all our incredible sponsors, shined a spotlight on our honorees the wonderful John and Carole Sanders, and celebrated our volunteer of the year, the lovely Shell Durham. A live auction, made ever more successful by our auctioneer Rick Grove, was the final event of the evening before attendees hit the dance floor to boogie the night away with our live band, the fantastic Atomic Groove.
We also must mention the incredible success of our very first Aggua Family Fun Fest this year, the family friendly event preceding the Gala. Featuring an exciting slime experiment hosted by Thermo Fisher Scientific, an informative Raptor meet and greet with Morticia and Celerity, a talented magician and many other fun activities. This event was an absolute blast. We hosted 120 people, and sent the kiddos home with quite the goodie bag including some tasty pizza, Chick-Fil-A coupons, rock candy and chocolate treats and a tree to be planted either here at the Discovery Center on October 10th or anywhere they deem fit. It was a perfect way to start this event filled day.
All of this was possible due to the generosity and support of our presenting sponsors listed above as well as our contributing sponsors: San Diego Gas and Electric, Chelsea Investments Corporation, NRG Energy, Poseidon Water, Rincon Band of Liseño Indians, Grand Pacific Resorts, Gemological Institute of America Inc., Republic Services, Brubaker & Associates, Calsense, Clevermade, DUAL, JPW Communications, Otter Products, Ryan Foundation, Karen and Ray Pearson, Project Management Advisors Inc., EcoWater SoCal, Hoehn Motors, Stifel Carlsbad – Gary Endres, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Jani Jackson, Jodi and Jon James, Meigs Family Foundation, Paula Anderson, Component Concepts, Dudek, Easy Life Management, The Lund Team, and Sanders Tech Ed. Foundation California WaterSports, The Silva Group, Wiegand Realty, Engel & Volkers Hambrick-Stewart Team, Develop Your Team, Sunfresh Flowers, Ara’s Party Rentals, Sunset Bay Candy Company, and Believe in Signs.
Approximately 200 attendees joined us to make this night a truly memorable experience and a successful fundraiser to help us with our goals of expanding the Environmental Educational Department. We are steps closer now to expanding our brick-and-mortar office space for more programming to be implemented and building more creative spaces for teachers and administrators to design the magic that our mission asserts to achieve. We want to thank everyone who attended, donated, sponsored, was on the planning committee and volunteered; with your help we are able to continue inspiring people through education and outreach to preserve the Agua Hedionda Lagoon as an accessible and healthy watershed.
Blast off with us for the 2023 Discovery Gala – DC Superheroes – August 26, 2023