The Sunrise Rotary Club had a grand coming-out party Friday night.
The club, which received its sanction just two weeks ago, participated in its first community event, taking two trophies at the Fiesta fundraiser, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of the Colorado River in which teams compete to make the best margarita.
Sunrise Rotary took the People’s Choice award, and its “Haboob” captured the prize for best blended margarita. The club teamed up with Breakthru Beverage of Las Vegas, which supplied the liquor and some volunteers for the booth.
The Haboob — named after the dust storms that sometimes visit the Arizona desert — combined avocado and chocolate with tequila.
“Everyone is surprised because of the avocado,” said club executive board member Anita Bray. “But it tastes amazing.”
An observer might have come to that conclusion just by watching the booth for a short time; as soon as team members put new Haboobs on tables, they were snatched up by guests.
The club also had an on-the-rocks margarita called the “Mohave Sunrise,” which featured pureed watermelon.
Also winning trophies at the event were Desert Lawn and the host Aquarius Casino Resort.
The Aquarius’ “Wicked Watermelon” drink was named best on-the-rocks margarita. The cocktail was based on a watermelon lemonade with mint.
Desert Lawn took the Best Booth prize for its setup that included a fog machine and a creepy coffin.
Since the event took place on a Friday the 13th, it had a built-in theme, which played out not only in the booth decor, but also in costumes worn by guests and competitors, and in the drinks themselves.
For the Cattle Crossing/Sundowner Saloon booth, owners Craig and Terri Bouchard decided to turn the superstitions around by defying them. The booth featured broken mirrors, open umbrellas, a black cat and other supposed bad-luck omens. There even was a famous cowboy silhouette — wearing a hockey mask reminiscent of the one donned by Jason Voorhees in a certain horror movie.
The drinks were named “Franken Berry” and “Boo Berry.”
Other cocktails had names like “Black Magic Margarita,” “Mango Madness,” “Bloody Mariachi” and the “Smoky Silvia.”
The latter was named for Silvia Beltran, owner of La Casa Del Pollo. The Jamaica margarita was made from fresh hibiscus flower and was cooled with dry ice, which provided a smoky effect.
La Casa Del Pollo was among several first-time participants.
Club CEO Autumn Boyle-Robinson said that businesses and organizations are seeing the Fiesta not only as a promotional opportunity, but as a fun way to support a good cause.
“It’s a good way to mix and mingle,” she said. “To chat with the community and support the kids.”
Boyle-Robinson said that the Fiesta, the club’s second-biggest fundraiser of the year, helps support programs that benefit about 1,400 Tri-state children.
She said early in the evening that she hoped the event would raise $35,000 to $40,000. Findlay Chevrolet Buick GMC made a major push toward that goal with an $18,000 donation.
Bray said that she’s not sure how Sunrise Rotary will follow up its Fiesta wins, but that it does want to be a force in serving the community.
“We plan on using this to our advantage,” Bray said. “Maybe strike up a friendly competition with other Rotary clubs and raise more money for local charities.”
The Fiesta fundraiser was a big hit, Autumn Boyle-Robinson said Tuesday.
Boyle-Robinson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River, said that Friday night’s margarita party brought in $50,000 for the club, including an $18,000 donation from Findlay Chevrolet Buick GMC.
“We are so grateful for the $18,000 donation from Findlay,” Boyle-Robinson said. “Gifts like this truly allow us to grow.”
She said the organization is working to build a clubhouse in Fort Mohave, which will require a large amount of capital. The money also will help the club acquire a truck for its thrift store, which would make it able to pick up donated items, and support the club’s summer programs.
“It’s gifts like this that will make providing after school and summer programs to all the children of the Tri-state a possibility,” Boyle-Robinson said.
She said the Findlay gift was large, but not out of character.
“Findlay has been a wonderful supporter for many years,” she said. “One of the amazing things about Findlay is that they contribute both their time and money into the community.”
Findlay has been the title sponsor for the Boys & Girls Clubs Youth Basketball League for several years, Boyle-Robinson said. She said the club is looking forward to partnering with the dealership on other events as well.
Boyle-Robinson also praised Fiesta 2018 title sponsors Western Arizona Regional Medical Center and Advanced Animal Care and longtime supporter Aquarius Casino Resort.
Larry Tunforss won a 50-50 drawing and donated $500 of his winnings to the club.
Twelve teams jousted in a margarita-making competition, and 700 people bought tickets for the event, which included unlimited sampling and a fajita and taco bar.
“This year’s Fiesta was a fantastic celebration of the kids and the community,” Boyle-Robinson said. “We are so grateful for the community stepping up and making this year a success.”
She said that organizers are already working on the 2019 Fiesta, which will be the 22nd.