Rim Country Hospice Foundation Unmasks Mardi Gras Fund-Raiser

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A small piece of the Big Easy will come to Payson this fall, when the Rim Country Hospice Foundation hosts its annual dinner, auction and dance Sept. 30 at Exclusive Refinishing.

The theme this year is Mardi Gras and Masquerade, and foundation treasurer Kathleen Hughes promises a colorful gala event, complete with masks and doubloons and the throwing of the beads.

Early on in the planning process, members of the Hospice board of directors had their hands full trying to find a location for this year's event. Last year, it was held at the DD Haught Arena in Star Valley, and as monsoons loomed, the board was forced to rent a tent to cover the party.

This year, Hughes said the board was hoping for something that wouldn't require that last-minute expenditure. She found her solution with brothers Mike and Tim Armstead, who've opened their business to Hospice for the Mardi Gras.

"We are so grateful to Mike and Tim," she said. "They've just been wonderful to work with."

With the location secured, Hughes and her gang have gathered a bounty of auction items that include a hand-painted armoire, a leather couch and loveseat, an antique pipe stand and a fainting couch.

"We have some really nice things lined up, for both the silent auction and regular auction," Hospice Foundation President Linda Idoine said.

Along with the usual items such as the Jake Randall Memorial rifle Hospice also has lined up for the auction block a trip for two to Jamaica, jewelry, lamps and a flying pig.

"We also have a two-night stay at the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, with tickets to any one event at the Phoenix Symphony," Hughes said. "We'll also have various sports packages, and we have a men's rose gold Rolex."

Hughes and Idoine said they're proud of the unique menu they've put together with the help of Arizona Taste Catering from Phoenix.

"We're having a wonderful sit-down dinner," Hughes said, "featuring glazed carrots, dirty rice with andouille sausage, mesquite grilled Mahi-Mahi with pineapple-mango salsa, and beef tenderloin in a rich Cabernet sauce."

And to round out the evening, Hospice has lined up jazz band "Julie."

The dinner/auction will be at Exclusive Refinishing, 201 N. Tonto Street. Cocktails and the silent auction begin at 5 p.m. Butlers will begin serving hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m., with dinner, a limited live auction and dancing to follow.

Ticket prices for the gala are $75 each. Sponsorship tables for 10 are available for $750 and $1,000. All proceeds will be used to assist the Rim Country Hospice Foundation in its goal to build a Hospice House a 24-hour skilled care facility where terminally ill patients and their families can spend time together.

For ticket information or to make a donation, contact Hughes at 472-8220.

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