Who: The good-hearted young professionals of the Twin Cities who want to give some money, but not their entire Saturday night, for a good cause
What: Jeremiah Program's Late Night Leap, part of the Jeremiah Bash
When: Saturday, November 1
Where: St. Paul RiverCentre
Why: Because the people at Jeremiah know how to throw a party.
So I made a rookie mistake Saturday night, showing up to the Jeremiah Program's Late-night Leap at 8:30 p.m. The problem was it started at 8:30, and no one shows up right at the beginning, so I was alone with my camera and a few volunteers. The rest of the guests at the Jeremiah Bash had been at the RiverCentre since 5 p.m., doing the whole cocktails, dinner, and live auction thing in the ballroom. But realizing that attending dinners for programs such as Jeremiah can be time consuming (we're talking five hours from the time the first cocktail is poured until the band hits the stage) and, um, expensive ($150-$250 a plate), Jeremiah decided to open up the event around 8:30 for the younger set who wanted the drinks and dancing thing without committing their whole evenings. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I played it safe and showed up early. Luckily Jeremiah staffers Stephanie Payne and Megan Kimball were there to assure me that a few hundred people had signed up to join the huge crowd in the ballroom for some cocktails and the Casablanca Orchestra. We just had to wait for the live auction to end.
So I wandered around for awhile and checked out the Vespa that would be raffled away at the end of the night. I caught well-known Jeremiah supporters Mary and Jim Frey chatting up a crowd outside the ballroom doors, no doubt trying to escape the booming voice of the auctioneer. Another big-time Jeremiah guy, Bill Svrluga, donning his signature bow-tie, was commenting on the creative touches in the bathroom (Jeremiah is known to go all out, this time piping the sounds of a pond--bullfrogs chirping, insects buzzing, water lapping--into the bathrooms and decorating them with cattails and other pond-inspired accessories.). By the time I made my way back to the Late-night Leap lounge, things had started to pick up. People were perusing the snack table, and I found Alicia Phillips and Jason Blumenthal lounging on the sleek white couches. Alicia and Jason are two of the many Jeremiah fans: "Love the mission, love the cause--and Gloria," Alicia ticked off reasons for coming. Gloria, of course, being the Jeremiah Program's great leader, Gloria Perez. A few minutes later, I snagged Dominic Ciresi (who was sporting a sharp wool pinstripe suit) and friend Danielle Faribault before spotting MSP Communications sales rep Sarah Schweichwith beau (and Deloitte consultant) Ion Skillrud. And for the record, it's pronounced Ian. By this time, the live auction was running a little late, and everyone was anxious to get into the ballroom.
Luckily, Gene Berger of Kage Imagery was doing his best to keep the late-night guests entertained, goading them to dress up in pirate costumes and boas for pics that will later be on the Jeremiah website. Jeremiah volunteer Andrea Kaufman and friend Doug MacArthur took the bait, Doug donning a pimp hat and Andrea a boa. Andrea wasn't volunteering for the Bash but loved the late-night idea, so she could "still show my support."
It was nearing 10 p.m., and the crowd in the lounge was really growing restless. Just then the ballroom doors opened, revealing the lush dinner party and a beaming Gloria Perez, who was being projected onto two jumbotrons, ready to give the standard thank-you speech to all of the guests. Gloria looked gorgeous as always. I've been to three Jeremiah Bashes, and the party--and Gloria's dresses--never disappoint. As soon as she was done addressing the crowd, she introduced the night's entertainment (who waited only one song to break out Three Dog Night's "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog"), and the dance floor filled with both guests who had sat through four hours of dinner and programming and the fresh-faced Late-nighters who had shown up fashionably late, which, of course, was right on time. One of these days I'll learn.