Glittery stilt walkers, feather-plumed showgirls, mermaids frolicking in the pool, go-go dancer birdcages and headline vocalists crooning on main stage might make you think you’re on the Las Vegas Strip. On June 26, all that and more greeted thousands of guests attending the 7th Annual Long Island Hospitality Ball 2017 (LIHB) at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
Since LIHB is all about hospitality, I cruised the poolside food and beverage displays, shot photos and video interviews while sampling colorful sushi rolls, watermelon-feta salad shooters, succulent short ribs, fried chicken in mini waffle cones with a honey pipette, eggplant meatballs, artisan baked breads, chicken sliders, chocolate pudding flavored with beer, etc.
The LIHB was started seven years ago by Keith Hart of the Hart Agency as a way to bring the hospitality community together to raise money for cancer research. The Baldwin family hosts the annual event in honor of their mom’s Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, the recipient of the proceeds. Billy, Daniel and Stephen Baldwin were there to represent their mom, and hearing stories about how the foundation began and all the cutting-edge research being done at Stony Brook University Hospital from money donated each year from LIHB proceeds, was impressive.
LIHB 2017 had everything going for it—beautiful weather, amazing things to nibble and sip, live entertainment inside and outside—all for a cause many Long Islanders have a connection to.
There were so many high points that night. One of my favorite moments was interviewing Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti after his stellar performance singing Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin standards. Sal was the Long Island pizza delivery guy who appeared on America’s Got Talent last year, and won our country’s heart.
Another special highlight of the evening was attending the VIP Awards Ceremony and hearing some hospitality industry stories from the honorees including Giovanni Casano of Empire Wines & Spirits, Bobby Goodrich, restaurant and night club impresario and Matthew Yonick, Manhattan Beer Distributors.
Put LIHB 2018 on your radar. This party with a purpose is the perfect blend of food, drink, entertainment and philanthropy. So, eat, drink and do good.