It was Saturday, Nov 5, the last night before clocks "fell back," ushering us into fall. And as that last hour of summer evening sunshine began to fade behind the clouds, more than 200 guests mixed and mingled on the patio of the Classic Club in Palm Desert to enjoy camaraderie and adult beverages in celebration of the 35th annual Hoedown at Sundown and 40 years of our local YMCA serving Palm Desert, Indio and Coachella.
The evening's theme was western, and guests showed up in style with hats, boots, jeans, plaid jackets and shirts and an array of interesting western costumes.
With more than 100 items to choose from, the silent auction tables were extremely busy. The items up for bid were certainly a sign of the times as there was a heavy focus on Arco gas cards plus rounds of golf at numerous courses across the valley, stays in local hotels and restaurant experiences. Also up for bid were donated pieces of art, holiday-themed gift baskets, spa treatments and cosmetic surgery procedures.
A photo booth was on-hand, and the instant pictures of guests provided a personal memo and thank you for the evening.
The live auction had plenty of terrific offerings, ranging from two stadium box seats for the 2023 BNP Paribas Open and a ride in the Riverside County sheriff's helicopter to wine tasting for six at Wildest and a Costa Rican vacation.
There are 2,700 YMCA chapters across the United States with 10,000 branches and 21 million people who can say "I was a YMCA kid." One such person was the evening's exuberant entertainer and emcee, Adam Voss, who proudly announced his thanks and allegiance to YMCA as he shared his experiences with the organization while working the room. Later he partnered with Palm Desert Mayor Jan Harnik to auction off the five live auction items to an eager crowd of bidders.
A delicious sit-down dinner included a fresh chopped salad and hot crusty rolls followed by perfectly cooked and thinly sliced brisket with vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes. Dessert followed, and tea or coffee was offered.
When Paula Simonds, Family YMCA of the Desert's CEO and executive director, addressed the attendees, her pride in the organization was evident. Simonds, who has more than 20 years' experience in the nonprofit field, says it takes a village to make it work, from team members and volunteers to the community — everyone plays a part in making an impact for those needing a hand up and not a handout.
Simonds also thanked the evenings many sponsors and donors.
The Family YMCA of the Desert is the largest provider of licensed children's health care in the Coachella Valley. The organization also offers fitness camps as well as other youth and family programs.
To volunteer or make a donation, contact Shelby Goodwin at (760) 341-9622 or visit ymcaofthedesert.org.
Carole Stephen-Smith has lived in the desert for more than 30 years. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, she began writing in London and has been a regular contributor to The Desert Sun for eight years.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Hoedown at Sundown raises funds for Family YMCA of the Desert