heART of Mt. Helix fundraiser features local artists, foods and music

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Over the span of eight years, the heART of Mt. Helix fundraiser raised more than $500,000, all for up keeping the park and its programs to the community. Each year this event gets bigger and better and the community involvement from artists, local restaurants and musicians was a great success as thousands made the climb to on of central East County’s most beautiful views on Aug. 13.

Over the span of eight years, the heART of Mt. Helix fundraiser raised more than $500,000, all for up keeping the park and its programs to the community. Each year this event gets bigger and better and the community involvement from artists, local restaurants and musicians was a great success as thousands made the climb to on of central East County’s most beautiful views on Aug. 13.

This year’s heART event continues to serve the community with upgrades to the park and its community programs. A large project that the event focused on this year is the restoration of the amphitheater, a venue like no other in our area. With its constant use for the community in a variety of ways, the steps are eroding and there is much needed repair of the steps to keep this venue safe and accessible to the community. And fundraise they did.

With silent and live auctions, VIP seating in front of the stage, it was a perfect evening of fun, entertainment and education. Between the large selection of silent auctions, some specialty live auctions and the ability to walk atop Mt. Helix as you watch artists in action, listen to live music and taste some of the best in local cuisine, this is a signature designed event, like no other.

Thirteen students from Grossmont College participated in a first time art contest with the first place winner Kayla Chavez having her painting printed on insulated wine tote bags for sale at the silent auction. Art pieces created at the event were a highlight of the live auction with La Mesa artist Chuck McPherson breaking his own record with his finished on the spot watercolor. He chose a hummingbird theme for this year’s piece of art. Master Goldsmith Terry Whyte demonstrated how he makes bracelets out of a flattened ounce of silver with a pin hammer. It was remarkable to watch him work and his art was another bid war at the live auctions conducted by Auctioneer Steve Hamann who created a great atmosphere for giving and pushed each item with humor to get the best price. Other artist included Sally Ault with her woodturning skills, Penelope Quirk, Art Smarts president and the fine art of Roz Oserin. In the live auction, the Helix Charter High School Pipe Band were up for bid for private events and received a rounding applause as they played for the audience.

And the music was spectacular. Atop the mount, “Cowboy Jack” Johnson and The Meh entertained the crowd as they mingled, watch artist at work and tasted delightful cuisine from local restaurants. The Jamacha Project started the entertainment at the amphitheater, with the silky sounds of jazz, Americana then breaking into country, blues and rock. It was a perfect beginning that led into the event.

But as the VIP section cleared, The Mighty Untouchables had most of the crowd dancing under the stars with its large selection of classics and great versions of current hits. This group of musicians play, sing and entertain with a unique sound and is well known to put on a great show. And that they did. From the first song to the last, the blend of pop, rock and soul classics displayed the many talents of this group with its tight horn section, some phenomenal riffs and the powerful and beautiful sound. And the members are as diversified as the music they play. It really was a night of dancing under the stars and The Mighty Untouchables not only had the dance floor filled, but people were joining them on stage dancing the night away.

The Mt. Helix Park Foundation Board of Directors and the 2016 heART of Mt. Helix Planning Committee outdid themselves once again, turning a needed fundraiser into more than dishing out money, but an entire evening of entertainment through art.

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