Hawaii came to the Santa Clarita Valley Saturday, April 18, when the SCV Rotary Club hosted its first luau. Event chair Connie Ragen Green and hosts Rob and Jaquelyn Werner led a determined group of volunteers in transforming the Werner’s Sand Canyon backyard into an island paradise for the occasion.
As if on cue, the weather turned warm and balmy making the Mai Tais and Piña Coladas popular thirst quenchers for the evening. Over 150 guests, dressed in colorful island prints, ordered the tropical drinks then checked out silent auction items, visited in the shade of tall pines, and danced to the infectious rhythms played by the Sound Waves band.
The auction featured items provided by the Rotarian membership and included a $500 necklace donated by Olga Wolf, braces donated by Dr. Anthony Cha, a one-week stay in a Big Bear cabin donated by Gary Wurst, one-week in a condo on the big island of Hawaii donated by Dave Sowers, golf outings with Jan Wong and Mark White, and a chiropractic exam by Jeff Willis.
A feast fit for an island king was prepared and served by members of the Elks Lodge, and Chris Ball roasted a suckling pig for all the luau purists in the crowd. Authentic island dances highlighted the entertainment with guests getting a free lesson from the Kapiolani Dancers at the end of the evening.
The monies raised at the luau will make it possible for Rotary’s Community Foundation to continue its tradition of annually awarding checks, totaling over $11,000, to various community charities. During the evening festivities, emcees Carl Goldman and Judy Penman, the 2008 SCV Man and Woman of the Year, helped Rotary president Doug Sutton hand out checks to Help the Children, the SCV Senior Center, Safe Rides, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, SCV Disaster Coalition and Campus After Dark.
Other groups receiving checks were the Brenda Mehling Foundation, SCV Youth Project, Foundation For Children’s Dental Health, SCV YMCA, Carousel Ranch, COC At-Risk Youth, COC Foundation, and the SCV Scholarship Foundation.
“This was such a wonderful way to start a new tradition,” said chairman Connie Green. “Many people contributed to the luau’s success including non-Rotarians Gail Dewhurst, the Elks, and Circle of Hope friends Judy Penman, Judith Poppe and Donnell Jones.”
Luau committee volunteers included Wendi Lancy, Sue Endress, Chris Ball, Greg Nutter, president Doug Sutton, president-elect Mike Thomas, Mary Ann Colf, Bob Noville, Claes Green, Jim Lentini, and Sebastian van Alphen.