Black tie, Ned style

Barbara Lawlor, Nederland.  Most local newspapers have a society section: a spread containing who married who, who had a baby, who hosted the local animal shelter fundraiser and detailed descriptions of who wore what to the annual winter ball.


The Mountain-Ear does not have a regular society column, probably because there is no regular society, at least in other town’s definition. But now and then, the word goes out, maybe once or twice a year, that one of our non-profit agencies is hosting a fundraiser and asking that folks show up in their “black-tie” outfits.


The Carousel of Happiness hosted their annual gala event last Saturday, October 14: Night at the Carousel; Animals After Dark and residents showed up, walked through the Carousel doors in some mighty fine and fun outfits, that might pass for fancy in dim candlelight.


Former Nederland trustee Betty Porter, in an elegant deep blue blouse under a stylin’ black jacket conversed with Gilpin School art teacher Kurt Halsted, whose bizarre tie and outrageous shirt, complete with hanging out tails, defies description.


Andy Cookler wore a bow/string tie created by his wife many years ago, as he hobnobbed with Doug Cosper, who also wore a bow tie and odd-looking white jacket trimmed with blue.


Carousel animal designer and cartoonist George Blevins looked rather rakish in his sport coat purchased during a trip to Germany. He was pleased with the opportunity to display a touch a class.


Jen and Steve Karowe must have been preparing their grand entrance for months. Jen sported a curly, goofy blonde hairdo, red lipstick and a fancy, swirly top while Steve’s bright red sport coat over a black shirt was the perfect backdrop for his beaver skin top hat, given to him by his mother when he was just a lad.


Kay Turnbaugh was dazzling in her sparkly, milky way shirt that she found at a thrift store, and her husband, Bill Ikler, was proud of his pink flamingo tie set against a grey shirt and his thrift store jacket.


Caterer Kim Culver didn’t need to get gussied up. All she needed was to walk around offering delicious appetizers which added to the ritziness of the party.

Subtle bowties bedecked the throats of musicians Max Krimmel and Bonnie Carol as they huddled in with the carousel animals, many of which also wore tuxedo fronts with paper ties.


TEENS Inc. director Stephen LeFaiver and his wife Johnnie were classically, simply elegant; he in his light blue shirt with a regular tie and she with her long dark hair sleek against her dark dress.


Janette Taylor, a lovely, soft, taupe belted dress with over sweater contrasted nicely with her husband Julian’s large black bow tie and watch chain accenting his black vest.

Musician Sam Bass was dashing in his suit and aristocratic attitude. Bass donated a home music concert for the silent auction as well as entertained the carousel crowd.


David Ruskay, former owner of Positive Energy, was the auctioneer for the live auction, using his great gift of gab to sell donated items.


The first to go was a pile of sleeping bags, tents and camping cookware donated by long-time resident Mary Wingate. The bidding began at $50 and went up to $75, a bargain said the happy camper. A condominium in Breckenridge over Thanksgiving weekend went for $200.


During the night’s activities in the Carousel, a silent auction took place at the Wild Bear Nature Center, where a plethora of much-needed and much-desired items were up for the bidding. Party attendees strolled around the tables holding the evening’s signature cocktail, Frosted Carousel Animal Cookie, created by Hillary Stephenson, and said to contain a white chocolate dipped animal cookie.


Carousel creator Scott Harrison welcomed the guests, thanking them for their contributions toward keeping the carousel, a Nederland destination institution, sustainable and vital and a source of joy for all who come through its doors.


No black tie needed.


(Originally published in the October 19, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.