BEF Bash committee members from left to right: Elena Pellegrino, Gretchen Kind, Meg McAllister, Cindy Tulimieri, Lisa Harrell, Jen Kelley, Audrey Gould, Assistant Superintendent Mary Lou Sallee, and Christine Smith – Courtesy image (c) 2019 all rights reserved.

Submitted by Bedford Education Foundation

On the evening of Saturday, February 2nd, the biggest party of the year for Bedford’s schools once again roared onto the scene at the Hilton Garden Inn in Burlington. The Bedford Education Foundation’s (BEF) annual fundraising extravaganza – the BEF Bash – transformed a typical hotel ballroom into a “Roaring 20s Casino Night”, bringing close to 200 residents and business community members back in time to enjoy a wonderfully festive evening, all to benefit the BEF’s mission to fund creative and innovative initiatives at all four Bedford schools.

Through the hard work of its committee members, and the generous support of guests and sponsors, the BEF raised $29,000 for future grant programs. Mission accomplished!

Part Gatsby, part speakeasy, the ambiance for the event spared no detail. From gold glitz draping from the ceilings to Prohibition-era bar décor, the Bash committee incorporated elements of the decade to set the perfect tone for the fun and “gambling”. Guests dressed in the finest flapper dresses, zoot suits, and a wardrobe straight out of Downton Abbey, were treated to the vocal talents of local singer Marissa Kearney, followed by a playlist chock full of jazz icons and Charleston-esque tunes.

Friends and neighbors took breaks from trying their hand at funny money blackjack and roulette to take photos behind a 20s era auto and pose for mobster-like mugshots. Shannon Dillon of Creative Images Boston again donated her time and energy to take candid photos throughout the night, truly capturing the spirit of the occasion.

Rounding out the activity and friendly competition of the evening was a fabulously decorated silent auction, offering everything from autographed Boston sports memorabilia to a chance to enjoy the finest dining in the area. BEF President, Jennifer Kelley, commented, “The positive buzz during the event and since has been phenomenal, and it was incredibly gratifying for all of the committee members to see everyone having such a fabulous time. We truly strive to bring an unforgettable fun night to the community while raising money for our grant program, and we are beyond thrilled to have done both again this year. I can’t thank our planning committee enough!”

In addition to the many guests and private donors, the incredible success of the Roaring 20s Casino Night was due in large part to the amazing support of the BEF’s business and community sponsors. Whether longtime partners or new to the BEF this year, local businesses and family table sponsors came out in full force both through their generous sponsorships and at the Bash itself. The BEF would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to all who contributed. According to Lisa Harrell, the BEF’s Corporate Sponsor Liaison, “We are so fortunate to live in a town where not only parents but also our business community, wholeheartedly support our students, teachers, and administrators.

The BEF is already looking to the future. According to Kelley, “we don’t get a chance to rest much before ideas begin pouring in for next year. Many of us have been fielding requests to repeat the 20s or to resurrect other decades, but we’ll keep folks buzzing while we move on to the rest of the school year and our next grant cycle. Stay tuned, everyone!”

That said, the BEF as a whole, and the Bash committee in particular, is always looking for new members who might want to take part in the fun. If you’d like to find out more about the organization and how you can help in the future, drop a line to Jen Kelley, at president@bedfordeducation.org.

Since 2008, the Bedford Education has funded $225,000 towards creative and innovative grants throughout the Bedford K-12 school system. If you missed their latest list of grants and recipients, or just want to take a look at the many grants supported over the years, please visit the BEF’s website at www.bedfordeducation.org. And if you missed the event, but would still like to support the BEF’s mission, please visit www.bedfordeducation.org/donate.

More images are available at Creative Images Boston Photography’s Facebook page. In addition, all of the unwatermarked versions can be downloaded for free at www.creativeimagesboston.com by clicking on “on-line ordering.”

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