What started as a simple spaghetti dinner 29 years ago has grown into a cornerstone of the annual social calendar. And what started 30 years ago as a group of parents meeting to talk about the overwhelming needs they had as guardians of developmentally disabled children has grown into Horizons Specialized Services, a nonprofit agency that serves 59 clients in five counties.
Tonight's auction and dinner is a joint annual fund-raiser for Horizons and the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club. Proceeds from the dinner are given to Steamboat Rotary, and proceeds from the silent and live auctions are given to Horizons.
The event is tied together with a tropical theme. Attendees are encouraged to wear tropical shirts. The first 50 women to arrive will be given flip-flops, and the first 50 men will be given tropical hats.
Last year, the fund-raiser brought in $24,000 for Horizons, said Kay Borvansky, Horizons resource development coordinator.
The money is used for the organization's general operating expenses.
"The state keeps cutting our funding," said Horizons director of administration Lynne Cleveland-Swanson. "The cost of living goes up, and the funding goes down."
Horizons supports five group homes in Craig and three in Steamboat. They have 41 people on a waiting list for services. Clients of Horizons must be current residents of Routt County or the other four counties served by the organization.
This year, the silent auction items include a trip to New York City for two (two first-class airline tickets and two tickets to an invitation-only private showing at the Museum for Modern Art in July), a bass anglers vacation in Traverse Bay, Mich., and a week stay at a five-star resort in Haultuco, Mexico.