The Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier has always been a great place for kids to enjoy rides, mid-way games and food treats like cotton candy and popcorn, but on April 27 it was the adults, along with kids of all ages, who were entertained and feted — with champagne and delectable grown-up hors d’ oeuvres — at the inaugural Pier Party, a fundraiser for Santa Monica public schools.
For our family it was a full day of games, rides and gourmet dining. The ticket price for VIPs was well worth the cost, and the value was even greater knowing all proceeds for the private, ticketed-only party went to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation to help the organization meet its goal of raising $4 million annually to support the SMMUSD Vision for Student Success, a program that ensures excellence for every school and every student in the district.
While the attendance estimate by organizers was around 1,000 families, the park lines were short, and there was plenty of room to walk about, and even hula hoop, which many children did in a an impromptu exhibit of their hip swinging skills. Other sights and sounds of the event included DJ Mark Ray providing music and emcee honors and a performance by local singing heart-throbs the Sposato Brothers from Malibu High.
A seaside cabana VIP area was reserved for guests paying top ticket prices of $175 which included brunch provided by the area’s finest restaurants including Blue Plate Taco, Caffe Luxxe, Chinois on Main, Del Frisco’s Grille, FIG, Hostaria del Piccolo, Hotel Erwin, JiRaffe, Joe’s/Bar Pintxo, The Lobster, Michael’s, Primitivo and The Wilshire.
The crowd for the event was well mannered and well dressed, and the atmosphere was festive, friendly and polite. While the event was open to all who bought a ticket, starting at $25 for an all-day wrist band for unlimited rides, it seemed that attendees were conscious of the fact that the lady and her family in front of them in line for the West Coaster or Whac-a-Mole might be a parent of a classmate, or even a teacher, so good behavior was the rule of the day.
Other activities included a raffle for gift baskets, sports gear, spa treatments and restaurants gift certificates; a live auction for a Terrenea Resort stay, Poseidon stand-up paddle board, diamond earrings and a four-hour ride-along with a Santa Monica Police officer; and an arts and crafts table hosted by PS Arts for children to decorate Japanese Carp windsocks and a touch-and-feel tank of sea creatures from the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.