by Marjorie Woodfin

Pilot staff writer

The first Barnacle Ball fundraiser for the Kids After School Program of Education and Recreation (KASPER), was declared a success by planners, sponsors, volunteers, and the 120 guests.

The financial goal to keep KASPER funded was met, and topped, with $14,692 raised by ticket sales, sponsorships, and silent and live auctions.

According to guests mingling, dining, and dancing at the event, the social and entertainment goal of providing a an elegant evening was also achieved.

The planning committee - Raina Stoops, Darryn Ballance, Elizabeth Bauer, Shelly Palmer, Paul Dunn, Alicia and Grant Lunde, Jennifer Legat and Bette Moore - worked for weeks to ensure the success of the fundraiser.

Obviously, no challenge was too great for the committee to make the ball memorable. Just observing the seascape decorations hanging from the 20-foot-high ceilings in the Seascape Center in Harbor inspired shock and awe and the question, andquot;Just how did they get those up there?andquot;

andquot;Actually, Raina and Joe Stoops, Adam Palmer, Shelley Palmer, Grant Lunde, and my husband and I worked on a donated scaffold,andquot; Ballance said.

andquot;We started the Sunday night prior to the event and worked every evening and most of the day on the Saturday of the event,andquot; Grant Lunde added.

Guest Moira Fossum said, andquot;I think it was the nicest event I've ever seen. How they transformed that big empty building into an undersea garden is amazing.andquot;

The music of the Sea Strings Quartet set the tone for the evening as guests mingled and enjoyed the appetizers being served by young volunteers.

Lance Nickerson, the professional auctioneer from Grants Pass, took his assignment to raise as much money as possible seriously, entertaining even as he coaxed higher bids from the audience.

andquot;My mom said she couldn't believe the bidding - even in this economy,andquot; Moore said. andquot;It was great that people realize our kids are worth it.andquot;

Chef Rob Krebs and his helper Ian Farquhar accomplished the task of preparing a gourmet meal for 120 diners and transporting the dinners from the kitchen of The Gallery Restaurant on Chetco Avenue to the dinner party in Harbor.

Following the dinner, guests danced until midnight to the music of Lavender Blue.

All involved in the planning of the event said they were delighted at the success of the evening's entertainment, but they agreed that the real payoff for all was the success in providing funding to keep KASPER alive for the children in Brookings-Harbor.

Two days later, committee member Ballance said, andquot;I'm still recovering.andquot; She gave a resounding andquot;yesandquot; when asked if they are planning for next year and then added, andquot;We just want more help.andquot;

Sponsors, including title sponsor Ray's Foundation, and table sponsors Chetco Federal Credit Union, Chetco Pharmacy and Gifts, Curry Health Network and the law firm of Wathiuson, Laird, Rubenstein, Baldwin, and Burgess, helped make it all possible.

andquot;Plus, we had many community sponsors, too many to mention them all,andquot; Grant Lunde said.

KASPER chair Caroline Milliman expressed her joy that the program will continue to provide after-school classes, sports, projects, and field trips for the children. However, she also noted that, in addition to funding, the program that includes classes in art, sign language, dance, rhythm, drums, knitting, sports, and gardening, also needs volunteers.

Milliman encouraged anyone interested in the program to volunteer to help teach a skill or provide training for one hour, one day, one week, or more. The program will continue during school vacations. For information or to volunteer to help, call Milliman at (541) 412-7479.