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'Tantalizing Twelve' top Out & About events of 2009

Dawn Law
| Monday, Jan. 11, 2010

Even when times get tough, as they did in the past year, we can soldier bravely on, enjoying beauty where we find it and doing good for others. Ladies and gentlemen, in that spirit, we submit for your approval the "Tantalizing Twelve" top Out & About events for 2009:

La Cultura Winter Gala, Jan. 17 -- The sapphire-studded event celebrated 45 years of educational excellence at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, and raised $10,000 for student scholarships. One lucky gala-goer went home with a 9.5-carat natural sapphire, plucked at randomfrom a champagne glass full of sham sparklers, courtesy of Beeghly Jewelers.

Heart and Stroke Ball, Feb. 21 -- It was prom night revisited at the annual American Heart Association gala, held at a private club near Ligonier. Posing for pictures were ladies in retro prom-style gowns and corsages, escorted by gentlemen in candy-color tuxedos. Young Lance Frye of North Huntingdon inspired guests with his story of battling a rare heart condition, with help from the AHA.

Hollywood Party at the Palace, Feb. 28 -- A full house in the historic Greensburg theater partied like it was 1955 during the fourth annual extravaganza hosted by the Westmoreland Cultural Trust. Tinseltown-style entertainment provided by Stage Right! and equity actors proved that there's no business like show business. A police detail even showed up to see what all the rockin' and rollin' was about.

Taste of Westmoreland, March 14 -- More than 1,000 guests followed their noses to the culinary delights awaiting at the 17th annual food-tasting festival hosted by Greensburg's Congregation Emanu-El Israel at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Mouth-watering selections from 30 restaurants ran the gamut from "A" (asiago flat bread) to "W" (wings), with stops along the food alphabet at barbecue, chicken, crostini, ice cream, mushrooms, roast beef, spring rolls and more.

Black Tie Bingo, March 21 -- One of the fanciest bingo nights found anywhere, the annual event at Stratigos Banquet Centre was presented by the Westmoreland Frick Hospital Foundation to benefit Excela Health Home Care and Hospice. On a more somber note, hospice volunteers presented a segment titled "Why We're Here," explaining whythey do what they do and the benefits reaped by both caregivers and recipients.

Golden Reflections Ball, May 30 -- The event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg was 24-carat all the way. Viewing of the museum's treasures, dinner by candlelight, dancing and updates on the Penguins' progress in that evening's Stanley Cup contest kept about 150 guests entertained until late in the balmy spring evening.

Westmoreland Symphony Hat Luncheon, June 6 -- There aren't many events these days at which hats are de rigueur, so thank goodness for one at which ladies can adorn their lovely heads in the finest of feathers, frills and frou frou. "In a Tuscan Garden" was an appropriate theme, as the weather gods provided abundant sunshine and a gentle breeze for the annual interlude at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.

Greensburg Croquet Club Tournament, June 14 -- What started 20 years ago as a friendly competition among friends has grown to one of the largest fundraisers of its kind in the United States. About 1,200 guests thronged the lawn at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg for the annual event featuring games, children's activities and themed tents in support of the Greensburg YMCA.

Bocce nel Giardino, Aug. 22 -- The Greensburg Garden and Civic Center provided the perfect venue for the yearly Italian lawn bowling tournament hosted by the Westmoreland Cultural Trust. Tables decorated with fresh garden vegetables, later donated to local missions, welcomed about 200 guests to a healthy repast under snowy white catering tents.

Polo for the Cure, Sept. 12 -- The horses and the hounds are only part of the appeal of this event held annually at Stom Hollow Field in Cook. Crowds are drawn from near and far by the beautiful highland scenery, tent after tent of gourmet delights and the chance to contribute to the life-saving mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center Grand Opening, Sept. 17 -- The eagerly awaited debut of the latest addition to Greensburg's cultural district drew more than 1,000 dignitaries and arts aficionados, including Capt. Jack Sparrow. (Who knew he was a music lover?) The evening opened with champagne toasts and closed with the lovely piano strains of Debussy's "Clair de lune" in the venue university President JoAnne Boyle pronounced "a great place for music."

Westmoreland Society Gold Medal Awards, Dec. 4 -- Two living treasures of American Art, artist Aaronel deRoy Gruber and patron Louise Merrell Kilgore, were honored by the group of distinguished supporters of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg. The event capped a year-long series of events in celebration of the museum's 50th anniversary.

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