New Gala Affair Planned In Ocean City

OCEAN CITY – A new holiday event called “Puttin’ on the Ritz” will take place this month, and, according to the event coordinator Veronica Donaldson, it is an event that Ocean City hasn’t seen before.

According to Donaldson, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” has been started to bring visual arts to the community and to involve the Art League of Ocean City will putting artwork at the convention center. All of the proceeds will be going to the art league to fill the halls of the convention center.

The Winterfest Gala will not be occurring this year and “Puttin’ on the Ritz” will be the event taking its place on the society calendar.

“The Winterfest Gala, due to the economy, it was not doing well and they were going to dissolve it as of last year,” Donaldson said. “A couple people from the art league, the convention center and myself have gotten together and said maybe we need something new and completely different in the area and that’s basically how it started, not that we’re replacing it at all. “[This event will be] something that Ocean City has never seen yet.”

The event committee has hired professional decorators to decorate the entrance and the hall of the convention center. When you drive in there will be a limo parked out front, with a red carpet entrance, where guests will have their pictures taken and will be given as gifts. The halls will be festively decorated and upstairs the cocktails and upscale light fare will be served. There will be a pianist, flute, and harpist playing as guests overlook the bay with the convention center’s ceiling to floor windows.

“The menu is to die for,” Donaldson said.

The cocktail hour will take place from 6:30-8 p.m., featuring martinis, premium spirits, wine, beer, and soft drinks. Early food temptations will include a savory crab cordial station, a mushroom martini bar and a bruschetta and flat bread station.

During the cocktail hour, guests will have a chance to place bids during the Chinese auction.

“We have close to 60 or more items,” Donaldson said. “Diamonds, jewelry, sculptures and mostly the art league’s art work. I was just blown away with these artists. With what they’ve able to bring us to be sold…these are really great artists. They have masters and doctorates degrees behind them and now most of them are retired and they do it as a hobby.”

The dinner menu consists of a first course of a mesclun cucumber salad and for the main course guests will have a choice between fresh local rockfish with crab stuffing or a pan seared filet mignon.

“That is going to be a sit down dinner,” Donaldson said. “Most of the galas they’ve had have not had a sit down dinner and that is why I think we’re going to be very successful.”

The reception to follow is 9:30-11 p.m. and it will feature a coffee and cordial bar, a chocolate ravioli station and a Viennese table with pastries and fresh fruit.

One of D.C.’s finest bands will be playing for guests to dance to, “The Main Event”. According to Donaldson, the band plays everything from Frank Sinatra to Rod Stewart, to Beyonce.

The numbers of tickets have been limited to 500, but the event has the opportunity to grow Donaldson said.

“Most of the people that have come to the convention center have never really seen the beauty…because they were on a limited budget,” she said. “But we’re pulling all the stops out.”

The gala will be decorated with the finest crystal, silver and china, as well as fine linens, decorations with lights and draperies and crystal chandeliers on the dance floor.

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased at the Ocean City Convention Center ticket office.

“We had stated that if the first time around we sold 200 tickets we would be happy,” Donaldson said. “We’ve met that and I think we will definitely get much more.”

There will be a cut off date to purchase tickets due to the menu selection.

“Get your tickets as soon as possible because you’ll have an event to come too that you will talk about until next year,” Donaldson said.