‘Big O’ Gala Aims To Raise Money To Reopen Teen Center

A fundraiser will begin with a drive down the red carpet and a physically distant photo op.

By Jack Berthiaume

For Open Space for Arts & Community

A long red carpet. Classic award-winning short films under the stars. A Bramble House box of deliciousness. Together, they can mean only one thing: The Big O Gala Drive-In is back, returning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, to benefit the re-opening of the ORBIT teen center at Open Space for Arts & Community.

The evening will begin with a drive down the red carpet and the chance for a physically distant photo op. Guests are invited to come as they are or bling it up and strut their Hollywood selves.

Once ensconced in their parking spots at the Night Light Drive-In, attendees will experience moments from 100 years of cinema in just 90 minutes, with a curated collection of award-winning short films for all ages, curated by the Open Space artistic staff. The evening will also feature live music, with Christopher Overstreet playing Open Space’s baby Grand piano and Kevin Nortness jazz duet – kicking off the event with breezy acoustic energy.

Guests will enjoy al fresco fare perfect for a front seat or folding chair, dreamed up and prepared by Chef Lia Lira of Bramble House. Refreshments will include sweets and savories along with a glass of wine or sparkling water.

This year, the Big O Drive-In will benefit Open Space’s ORBIT initiative. Launched in the summer of 2019, ORBIT (Open Space Recreational Base for Island Teenagers) provides meaningful opportunities for high school-aged islanders.

Organizers said that after a relentlessly challenging year for teens, they are thrilled to relaunch their teen center. Before the pandemic canceled in-person gatherings, ORBIT events and programs had taken on a life of their own. Teens planned dances, art installations, and even entrepreneurial and vocational projects with support from the ORBIT program coordinator. Funds from this benefit, organizers said, will go towards reopening this center with gusto.

Open Space has secured a match for this effort. Donations for the Big O will be matched up to $25,000, meaning that Big O guests and anyone giving toward this initiative will double their investment in supporting island teens.

The evening will also feature an array of door prizes, including desserts, gift bags, and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for wine, a gift card towards Vashon Adventures, and a brisket dinner prepared by Barbecue Emergency.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the event. The film reel will roll at 8:30 p.m. Space is limited, and tickets are $60 per person. A select number of “just-the-films” tickets, which do not include food or door prizes, will go on sale on Aug. 11. Tickets are available at OpenSpaceVashon.com.

To support ORBIT even if you cannot attend the event, visit OpenSpaceVashon.com and look for the donate link at the bottom of the page.

Please, leave your pets at home but bring your favorite folding chair, pillows, and comfortable blankets.