Hale ‘Opio Passion for Purses gets bigger, better

NUKOLI‘I — The third Passion for Purses and High Tea benefit event for Hale ‘Opio is growing.

Mary Navarro of Hale ‘Opio said there were a total of 197 bags donated toward the event, 60 more than last year, and about 150 people spent their Sunday afternoon at Kaua‘i Beach Resort browsing and bidding on purses and bags which were coupled with merchandise filling.

“This is almost as big as the one someone does in Maryland where they had 225 bags,” Navarro said. “And they’ve been doing it for eight years.”

After discussing the event with patrons who attended last year, Navarro said there were several areas which were different from the 2011 event.

“One of the features this year is the ‘Buy Now’ entry on the bag description,” Navarro said. “This saves people the anxiety of waiting to see if they had a winning bid on a particularly special item. They can just ‘buy it, now.’”

The live auction has been replaced with special contests as bidding on different sections closed, Navarro said. Additional contests included a hat contest, one volunteer commenting on the need to remind guests to bring hats since it was a high tea, and another contest had all early registrants prior to April 16 being placed into a hopper for a random drawing for a prize.

“There’re enough bags so everyone here can go home with a bag,” Navarro said.

Laverne Bishop, director of Hale ‘Opio, said the bags this year were grouped according to themes such as resort, kids, miscellaneous, food and travel, and it appeared the browsers were responding to this categorization favorably as emcee Joel Guy guided the shopping and punctuated the afternoon with bidding prompts, guides and tips.

In addition to the bidding, guests could bid on a specially-created quilt and bag ensemble which was on display at the stage.

“I’m glad they displayed it up front,” said Maureen “Mo” Nuccio-Hiraga of Paradise Quilting, who created the quilt. “I saw this fabric containing purses and thought it was perfect for this event. Hale ‘Opio is such a good organization and does good work so I had to create this to help them out.”

Billie Terao sewed the accompanying bag and a smaller purse to fit within the bag.

Navarro said following a taste testing earlier in the year, Chef Mark Sassone and the Kaua‘i Beach Resort culinary staff created special pupu to go along with the high tea.

Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i is a nonprofit organization serving youth and families of Kaua‘i since 1975.

The organization is committed to youth-directed, family-centered, culturally sensitive programs that address the physical, emotional, educational, recreational and developmental needs of its clients, its website states .

Visit www.haleopio.org or all 245-2873 for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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