As summer temperatures throughout the Central Valley continue to rise, the Merced Arts Center is offering a reprieve from the heat, and a taste of island life, with their annual Luau at the Lake fundraiser.
Held on Sept. 6, the event will take place on the shores of scenic Lake Yosemite in Rotary Cove 1.
From a delicious island dinner to live music and dancing, this year’s event is expected to be the biggest and best yet.
Kicking off at 5:30 p.m., the Luau will begin with a social hour when guests can mingle, view artwork by local artists for a silent auction and buy raffle tickets.
As the sun begins to set, hosts Enrique Gonzales-Vega and Chris Machado will take to the stage to welcome those in attendance. Having gained notoriety in the Central Valley as improv artists, the duo will be sure to keep the energy high as they introduce each act in a fantastic entertainment lineup.
Candice and the Passengers will be featured as they play a medley of rock ’n’ roll standards for dancing. Other local acts include the Bear Creek Ukulele Society and the South Pacific Dance Company.
Dinner for the event will be served around 7 p.m. The night’s special dishes will be prepared by chefs from both Club Mercedes and the old Ranch Restaurant in Downtown Merced. They will serve everything from pulled pork and coleslaw to Gallo wine and Kahlua Punch.
“This is our biggest fundraiser that helps fund the many arts programs we organize and support throughout Merced County and within the MAC,” said Colton Dennis, the Merced Arts Center executive director.
He said the funds raised during the event help ensure the continued smooth operation of the Merced Arts Center, the Enrichment Center, local arts exhibitions, arts education, the ARTREE program to bring the arts to local schools, and other artistically focused endeavors throughout Merced.
“The food should be amazing, our band, Candice and the Passengers, will surely entertain, our hosts will be hilarious, and the evening should be beautiful,” said Dennis. “I’m also looking forward to the ukulele players and Hawaiian dancers — what’s a Luau without them.”
Dennis also revealed that this 2019 edition will be the MAC’s last Luau fundraiser for the foreseeable future.
“The Luau is too close to other summer galas and fundraisers in town,” said Dennis. “So now we’re coming up with a new theme, and at a time of year where there aren’t as many local fundraisers going on.”
For those who would like a final taste of the islands, and to send the Luau at the Lake fundraiser off into the sunset, tickets for the event can be purchased in person at the Merced Arts Center at 645 West Main Street, or by calling (209) 388-1090.
Tickets start at $55 for an individual ticket, or $750 for a table that sits 10. For more information about the 2019 Luau at the Lake, log onto ArtsMerced.org or stop by the Merced Arts Center Tuesday through Friday, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.