Thor, Barbie, and Mrs. Claus Appear at Inagural Denim & Diamond Masquerade Party
by James Coulter
From beekeepers and pirate wenches to Thor, Barbie, Snow White, and even Mrs. Claus herself, everyone and everybody made their grand appearance at the inaugural Denim & Diamond Masquerade Party hosted by the Winter Haven Public Education Partnership (PEP).
On Thursday evening, several dozen Winter Haven city and chamber officials dressed up as their favorite characters and graced Nora Mayo Hall with their appearance for a chance to raise funds for local public education.
Anita Strang, Executive Director for Main Street Winter Haven, appeared as Mrs. Claus. After all, as she said herself: “Who doesn’t love the most influential woman in the North Pole?”
Strang appreciates the after-school programs Winter Haven PEP hosts for local children. As such, she wanted to contribute however she could to assist with Winter Haven PEP’s inaugural fundraiser.
“I am wishing PEP the best with this new event, and I hope it is very successful,” she said.
Ana Saavedra, Membership & Sponsorship Development Manager at Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, dressed up as Barbie. She loved The Barbie Movie so much that she decided to dress up as its titular character, rollerblades and all.
“I was obsessed with The Barbie Movie this year,” she said. “It inspired me. Girl power!”
Despite the rainy weather earlier that evening, which proved so stormy that the event was momentarily delayed, the Denim & Diamond Masquerade Party drew in several hundred guests for its inaugural event Thursday evening, said Marcus Wright, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Winter Haven PEP.
The fundraiser served as a replacement for the annual Lip Sync Contest, which was discontinued last year. Even despite the rain earlier that evening, the inaugural event proved fairly successfulwith a great turnout and attendees enjoying the food and festivities.
“Overall, we have a great turnaround,” he said. “We have some great people here. We have company leaders, regular ordinary folks, and that is what this is all about, mixing people together and having ourselves a good time.”
Winter Haven PEP is a local non-profit organization that supports local schools, teachers, and students. According to its website, “PEP seeks to facilitate the innovation and connections necessary to make Winter Haven’s public school system one that effectively serves all students and is viewed as a benchmark for public school systems.”
Proceeds from the event will go toward the organization’s many programs and services, including its tutoring program, education and enrichment teams, and early childhood literacy team.
“I think this is going to exceed our goal,” Wright said. “We are going to make sure that we have enough money for the art programs, continue to go on and on. We are always looking for partners and sponsors who are looking to partner with us to make sure our goals are ensured for our students and teachers of Winter Haven.”
For more information about Winter Haven PEP, visit their website at: https://whpep.org/