INsite Magazine

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Noche de Gala 2009: A Special Night for a Special Cause

Less than two years ago, three-year-old Sebastian Ferrero died because of a chain of medical errors at Shands Medical Plaza. As a result of his death, his parents, Horst and Luisa Ferrero, founded the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation to advocate for a specialized children’s hospital to be built in Gainesville. Noche de Gala is an event to raise awareness and money for the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation. Horst calls Noche de Gala, “A special night for an even more special cause.”

This Saturday, October 3, Noche de Gala 2009 will be held for the second time at Besilu Collection, a 642-acre Paso Fino horse farm in Micanopy, Florida. The theme for this year is a Venetian masquerade ball and guests are encouraged to wear masks to the event. From the time guests arrive, they will be treated to a night of splendor.

The night will begin with valet parking and guests will walk up a red carpet to 1 of 13 guest tents all decorated as a Venetian opera house. Cocktails will be served while court jesters and magicians entertain the guests and an orchestra will play between events. There is also an exhibition of some of the finest Paso Fino horses at Besilu Collection. The feature performer is Ted Keegan, who played the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Other entertainment will include the band Carlos Oliva and The Judge's Nephews, New Century Dance Company, and opera singers Rhonda Nus Tinnin, Roberta Watson and Dr. Anthony Offerle.

In addition to watching the performances, guests will have the opportunity to walk through three barns to meet the Paso Fino and thoroughbred horses housed at the farm. There will also be a silent auction featuring cross-country getaways, autographed musical and sports memorabilia and original artwork. Other stops include Cuban cigars rolled on site, an espresso bar and a large dance floor.

Executive director of the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation Deborah Peeples expects about 900 guests this year — that’s 200 more than last year— and hopes to raise $1 million from the event. All of the money raised from the event will go directly to Sebastian Ferrero foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Ferrero are covering all the administrative costs of the event. The Ferreros will also match funds for all money raised at Noche de Gala.

Noche de Gala will run from 7 pm to midnight. For more information or tickets go to

--Story and photos by Timothy Carswell

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