On Saturday, July 9th, 2011, the 12th annual Love Heals gala took place at Luna Farms. More than 600 guests and supporters were in attendance and raised over $300,000 for the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education.
Much like every other Hamptons gala, this one was no different in gracing us with some bold-faced names. Co-hosts Hilary Rhoda, fashion stylist Mary Alice Stephenson and Avenue’s Peter Davis were joined by New York Rangers Sean Avery and Brad Richards, mogul Russell Simmons, BRAVO’S Real Housewives of New York City’s Sonja Morgan and Cindy Barshop, Love Heals co-founder Dini von Mueffling, BRAVO’S “Million Dollar Listing’s” Josh Lagg, Dior’s Dianne Vavra, Jamie & Bettina Prentice, fashion designer Miguelina Gambaccini, Chris & Cristina Cuomo, model Marybeth Dupain, Tanya Zuckerbrot, Irene Albright, Elizabeth Harrison and Cinema Society’s Andrew Saffir & Daniel Benedict.
The “Coney Island Comes to the Hamptons” theme was evident upon entering the massive tent. Guests were ushered into the roller coaster photo booth, produced by Studio HS, where we were able to take over 10 actions shots with the fans blowing in our faces as we emulated scared/scary faces. Most creative photo booth I’ve seen to date!
After that, we made our way over to the center bar where guests were served Chandon sparkling cocktails and flutes of rosé, and also ushered towards the Patrón margaritas. There was even a special station where you could get creative in making your own margaritas by picking your base juice – lime, grapefruit or orange – and start throwing in your desired amount of tequila and garnishes. As a special bonus, the genius event producers hired the. most. attractive. bartenders. to quench our thirst.
What’s a carnival without carnival food? More specifically, Nathan’s hot dogs! That only whet our appetite for the delicious foods by Deforest Gibbs BBQ, including ribs, pulled pork, burgers, and summery pasta salad. Dessert included treats from the Soft Serve Fruit Co. (check out the recent opening in Union Square) and Crumbs Bake Shop. Other sponsors included Asahi Beer, Smartwater, Pop Chips and Vita Coco.
And finally, it’s not a carnival without the games. Nearly everyone who played the ring toss walked away with a prize of a giant stuffed animal. The sledge hammer striker was the most popular game there, but skee ball was certainly a big hit with the little ones!
If you lost at the games, you could buy your happiness back at the silent auction. They had fantastic items up for bid, like VIP table service at SL, a vacation to Bali for 12, a one-year Club Chandon membership, polo lessons from a professional polo athlete, designer outfits and accessories, salon services, an internship at Diane von Furestenberg, and a Gossip Girl set tour that started at a $1,500 bid.
As the night progress, people made their way to the dance floor, where things started to get a little nutty. The music was a never-ending cycle of fantastic mixes brought to us by DJ M.O.S. As sweaty as I got, I didn’t to leave for fear of missing out on a great song to flail my arms to.
A stunning event for a worthy cause: Love Heals helps empower young people in the fight against HIV through education and providing a community for support.
276 Parsonage Lane
Sagaponack, New York
between Sagg Main and Town Line Roads
About Love Heals
Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education, empowers young people in the fight against HIV. Their HIV-positive speakers are putting a face on the epidemic, and their youth empowerment programs are training a new generation of community educators and activists. Love Heals also creates and distributes educational materials, shares its expertise and advocates for young people’s right to HIV/AIDS education. They operate in partnership with hundreds of schools and community groups throughout New York City and the surrounding areas, reaching both young people and those individuals who impact their lives, and placing a special emphasis on outreach to high-risk communities.
Alison Gertz, the inspiration behind the organization, was infected with HIV through a single sexual encounter when she was 16. Soon after discovering she had AIDS, Ali made her story public in an effort to help others and quickly rose to become an internationally recognized spokesperson for AIDS awareness and prevention. After Ali died in 1992, her three best friends—Stefani Greenfield, Victoria Leacock Hoffman and Dini von Mueffling—continued her mission by cofounding Love Heals. Today, the foundation reaches more than 40,000 young people each year.