Randy Robbins, Pilot staff writer

GOLD BEACH - Curry Health Foundation (CHF) was on track to equaling last years donations of $25,000 to help bankroll county wide health care causes.

"Hypnotize the Night" was the name of this year's CHF annual party, with a Mardi Gras theme, and featured a Hollywood red-carpet greeting, complete with silhouetted paparazzi who welcomed Curry County donors to a dinner served by the Friends of the Fair in Docia Sweet Hall Saturday night.

The decorations were the brainchild of Curry General Hospital employee Debbie Knight.

After dinner, a silent auction offered bidders everything from Hawaiian condominium trips and guided fishing excursions, to fine art and wines. A full service bar was manned by Gold Beach Rotary, which splits the evenings proceeds with CHF.

The highlight of the evening came when Portland-area professional hypnotist Dan Hawk brought eight people from the audience on stage and, for more than an hour, had them under his "power of suggestion."

Gold Beach resident Allen Terret was one of Hawk's targets. Terret and the others were "informed" that they were "10 1/2 months pregnant." Terret complained to the assembled audience that "I can't get out of my seat!" When Hawk asked, "Why?" Terret responded rather anxiously, "My belly's too big."

Gold Beach Rotarian Mary Stansell was impressed by Hawk's performance.

"Oh my God! It was hilarious! I was trying to videotape it and you can hear me laughing all the way through it!"

In addition to Terret, the people on stage were told that, when ever someone shook their hand for the remainder of the night, they would loudly proclaim, "Welcome to Walmart," which they did - much to their bewilderment; and any time someone said the word "Rotary," they were instructed to shoot their hands above their heads and shout "High on Health!"

"The evening was a huge success," said CHF Executive Director Roseanne Ismert. "It will be difficult to top it next year."

Last year the foundation funded $20,000 in grants to Gold Beach Senior Center, Good Samaritan Society, Southwestern Oregon Community College's Better Bones and Balance Program, Agness Illahe RFPD, Oasis House, Chetco Activity Center and Curry Community Health.