The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of many popular events, festivals, and fundraisers around the Golden Isles, but Cabaret, the premier fundraising event for the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, isn’t one of them.
“We’re still having Cabaret. It’s just going to be different, but better,” says symphony board member Janice Lamattina. Traditionally, the elegant event is held on Sea Island in the Cloister’s ballroom each January, but Lamattina says organizers had to get creative this year.
“We wouldn’t feel comfortable having an indoor event at this time, so we are moving it outside to the beach and moving the date to May,” she says.
The 17th annual event is being called the Aloha Cabaret and is set for 6 p.m. Friday, May 21, at the King & Prince Resort’s beachfront venue, the Atlantic Court, adjacent to the historic hotel. The sounds, flavors, and décor will bring a touch of the Hawaiian islands to the area.
“Cabaret is an event everyone has grown to love for over 15 years and the Atlantic Court is right on the beach, which will make for a fun, but safe venue,” Lamattina says.
This yearly event is the primary way the board raises funds for the symphony, which is currently in its 36th season. It has also had to adapt to the pandemic by canceling some concerts, and has moved others outdoors instead of holding them at the usual performance space at Brunswick High School.
While Cabaret’s popular silent auction will continue, it will also be done in a socially distanced manner. “For the first time, we’ll be taking the bidding online and through patrons’ mobile phones the night of the event, so we don’t have to have people elbow-to-elbow. One of the most unusual items up for bid is a trip to Hawaii. There will also be a ski trip package to Utah,” Lamattina says.
She notes there will be no paper bidding at the event, and personal shoppers will be available to help patrons navigate the cellphone bidding process.
“It will still be a fun, interactive auction led by Mason Waters, along with terrific entertainment. We will also have contactless payment only that will eliminate the long checkout lines. Ladies who are our top patrons will also be offered complementary handmade leis,” she says.
Although this year’s Cabaret will be an “elegant” event, Lamattina notes that it will be much more laid back and not black tie. Instead, it will be “beach chic,” and entertainment will include a Polynesian dancer and fire performer.
She says the plated dinner is being catered by Bonnie Raybern.
“While we will still have a plated dinner as in year’s past, it’s not going to be ‘steak on a plate.’ Bonnie is developing a menu based on Hawaiian culture, and we’ll have a three-hour open bar. We’ll also be using fresh flowers in the décor that bring that Hawaiian feel,” she says.
Lamattina says she and the entire event team are excited to bring something new to a longtime event.
“It will still be the fun, elegant evening our patrons have come to love, just reimagined to keep everyone safe while supporting our symphony,” she says.