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Saturday night, February 10, a host of NIA members, NIA volunteers, city partners, and holiday event participants converged at the Long Beach Yacht Club for the 77th NIA Holiday Awards and Community Celebration. The mantra of the gathering was “Celebrate the Community We All Call Home!” The evening unfolded in four distinct chapters. 

Chapter 1: The Awards Presentation

In a theatre-style setting, complete with synchronized projection on three screens, the NIA bestowed 33 awards for Boat Parade and Holiday Home Decor excellence (see the roster of winners on pgs 8-14). Councilmember Kristina Duggan presented a special commendation to the Naples CERT Team for the group’s work designing and distributing an updated edition (the first update in four years) of the Naples Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide, and for launching the first-ever Naples READY Fest - emergency preparedness fair. Three beloved community awards were also presented: Bob Lane was honored with the Heartwell Award (pg 4), John Sangmeister was recognized with the NIA Service Award (pg 18), and Lana Farfán received the NIBA’s Ken Cassidy Business Excellence Award (pg 5). Chapter One capped off with the Councilmember installing the NIA’s 2024 board members.

Chapter 2: The Celebratory Toast 

Guests then transitioned to the Yacht Club’s deck and patio where they enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine (courtesy of The Andy Dane Carter Group) and passed hors d’oeuvres. Glasses were raised and the guests toasted the freshly announced honorees and the 2024 NIA Board.

Chapter 3: Dinner

During the cocktail party, the main dining room and quarter deck were re-configured from theatre-style seating for the Awards Presentation to table-seating for dinner. Chef Haselwood’s service team crafted four bountiful food stations with a broad range of flavors, including: Korean tacos, tabouli salad, grilled veggies, artisanal cheeses, mini tarts and macaroons.

Chapter 4: Dancing to King Salmon

As guests wrapped up dinner they transitioned to the dance floor. The band, sponsored by Lance Castro, brought the funk jams of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. As the floor filled, the celebratory vibes and the joy of socializing with friends and neighbors elevated the mantra: “Celebrate the Community We All Call Home!”

Shout-outs to the evening’s chairs, John Boezinger (NIA Ways + Means) and John Angelo (NIA Communications). Kudos to Lynda Martinelli, Estela Solano and Caroline Stacey for centerpieces and decor. High-fives to Salvador Farfán for photography, and to former NIA president, Steve Pruitt, for his amazing contribution of sound, projection and A/V management throughout the event… YOU anchored the night!

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