RANCHO SANTA FE — It started as a St. Patrick’s Day charity golf tournament, but with a few added twists has evolved into an eco-friendly September event with a tee-off gala featuring the King of the Twist himself, Chubby Checker.
About 200 guests paid $50 or $100 for a July 19 party that included music, wine tasting, appetizers, opportunity drawings and a chance to mingle with the 68-year-old rock ‘n’ roll legend whose name is synonymous with “The Twist,” the only single to top the Billboard Hot 100 twice.
The event, held at the home of Irene Valenti, founder of Valenti International matchmaking service, was hosted by Valenti and Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International to kick off the upcoming Swing for Kids golf tournament at Del Mar Country Club.
Proceeds from both events will benefit The Rotary Club of Rancho Santa Fe, Kids Korps USA, ProKids Golf Academy, San Pasqual Academy and the Camp Pendleton Armed Services/YMCA.
Early last year, the Rotary Club began organizing a green golf tournament for St. Patrick’s Day. But March came and went and the event was postponed. Meanwhile, Valenti became involved as a new Rotarian and decided to host a pretournament kick-off with some help from Checker, a longtime family friend.
“I feel blessed that I can bring people together like this,” she said. “There are all types of matchmaking, and I have wonderful great contacts.”
Valenti said one phone call netted a $25,000 donation. “That’s an amazing example of the magic you can do when you are blessed with great people in your life,” she said.
Checker said he felt privileged to be there to help. “She is giving something back to the community, and I’m here for her,” he said. “She is improving the lives of those who are less fortunate.”
When he and Valenti addressed the guests, he reminded them to be thankful for all they have. “It does feel nice to be fat and rich,” he said. “But we need to be willing to share that with others. That’s what this event is all about.”
Tassy Hawthorne, a teacher at the Camp Pendleton Armed Services/YMCA, said she enjoyed the wine, food and beautiful surroundings. “But the most exciting part was meeting Chubby,” she said.
Only about 30 spaces remain for the Sept. 3 golf tournament. Visit www.kidskorp. org to register. Check-in time is 11 a.m., with a 12:30 p.m.
shotgun start. A reception, silent auction and dinner will follow.
Patrick Galvin, Rotary Club president, said the group chose to hold the tournament at the Del Mar Country Club because it is known for being eco-friendly. He said the event is using recycled and biodegradable tees and communication and invitations are primarily being done electronically.
The few invitations that are being printed are using soy-based ink and recycled paper.
“The Rotary Club is very conscience about going green,” Galvin said.
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