Spring is an exciting time of year for many reasons. For me, it’s because it’s time again for the Rutland Young Professionals’ Gala. Our annual gala brings our members and friends together for an evening of fun and celebration. It’s a chance to get out of the house after a long winter, have a good time at one of our area’s most beautiful venues and take the time to honor a few members of our local community.

Of course, it’s also an evening to break out your dancing shoes, an excuse to buy a new outfit from your favorite local shop and an opportunity to raise a glass for another year of progress.

This year we’re hosting our third annual RYP Gala on Friday, April 26, at the Mountain Top Inn & Resort. I’ve had a blast organizing this year’s event, and think you’ll enjoy what we have planned.

In addition to a delicious buffet dinner from the Mountain Top, we’ll enjoy a beer tasting sponsored by Long Trail Brewing Company, a photo booth by Vibe Portrait Art, cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast sponsored by Hannoush Jewelers and decadent mini cocktail-flavored cupcakes from our board president, Steve Peters. Did I mention tickets are now on sale at our website, rutlandyoungprofessionals.org?

As you get ready for Rutland’s most fun and hip event of the spring season, you might like to know that we’ve partnered with three local businesses who are generously offering discounts on your gala attire needs. Visit Amber Sprott Boutique, Fruition Fineries or McNeil & Reedy with your ticket to find the perfect outfit and receive a discount. We’re so grateful for their continued support!

Another exciting partnership is with the Rutland Community Cupboard. If you donate five food items to the cupboard at any point between now and the gala, my friend Dan Warnecke, the Cupboard’s executive director, will give you a $5 coupon to use toward your gala ticket purchase. We’re so lucky to have Dan be a part of our gala committee this year. Organizations like the Cupboard are so valuable to our area, and we wanted to take this as an opportunity to show our support. Please consider bringing a donation to the Cupboard and help a family in need now and throughout the year.

At last year’s gala we recognized a Young Professional of the Year for the first time. We were so pleased to honor Lisa Ryan with the award. Lisa is so dedicated to the community, and has a passion for Rutland that is both inspiring and contagious. The individual who receives this special recognition is nominated by the community, with the final decision made by our board of directors. Although I cannot yet announce this year’s recipient, I’m confident that you will be pleased with our selection, and I know they can’t wait to share this moment with you.

Our board of directors also presents a Young Professional Business of the Year award. I’m truly honored to present this year’s award to Blush Salon and Beauty Lounge.

Owner Paige Carrara has been an avid supporter of our organization, specifically our annual fashion show, by providing all models with gorgeous hair and makeup for the show. Paige, a young professional herself, exhibits so much energy for this region and employs fellow young professionals with career paths that encourage them to stay in this region. We couldn’t be happier with the selection, and we can’t wait to honor Blush Salon and Beauty Lounge!

Our hope is for the gala to be an evening that brings people together, celebrates accomplishments, recognizes some of our local leaders and, most importantly, provides fun. I can promise you we’ll be doing all of the above. Don’t forget to get your tickets at rutlandyoungprofessionals.org, and I hope you’ll join me for this year’s gala — cheers, fellow RYPs!

Kim Rupe is an RYP board member as well as Gala committee chairwoman and is the assistant director at the Rutland Economic Development Corporation.

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