Vibrant and Inspired Awards Gala Packs a Porsche Punch

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Vibrant and Inspired Awards Gala Packs a Porsche Punch

A Cayman GT4 headed up the “Porsche Circle of Light” as revelers gathered for the grand kickoff of the Awards Gala.

To the grand orchestral score of Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” the 58thAnnual Golden Gate Region Awards Gala kicked off the New Year with a curated collection of luxury and sports Porsches on parade (including a ’73 911 Carrera RS) in a “Circle of Light” spectacular with sound and artistry…revving up engines on cue by President Brad Kellett around the majestic fountain of The Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Gala attendees dressed to the nines in Tuxedos and sequined gowns waved their “rally rooters” in a kinetic frenzy as Taiko drums heralded the world premiere of “The Emperor’s Waltz” in concert with the East meets West exhibition of the Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani collection. 

Attendees wave their rally rooters in the Porsche Circle of Light.

Master of Ceremonies John Celona in a ceremonial embroidered peacock sash, white vest, bow tie and tails chaired an immersive Porsche gala experience with artistic director and award winning choreographer Bubba Gong which included dazzling Porsches, fine cuisine, signature Porsche inspired cocktails “The Saffron S” and “The Turbo Carrera Martini” and all-star entertainment with the theme: “Driving the World…Porsche” which featured performers from a Persian Olympian in Taekwondo, classic Russian trained Ballerina and The Last Emperor. 

Golden Gate Region celebrates its 58th annual Awards Gala.

A stately procession of party revelers followed the Peacock Emperor whose robe and imperial Coronet—hand embroidered and jeweled—were created especially for the event and arrived just in time from Shanghai. Guests were treated to a delectable array of Hors d’oeuvres: Dungeness Crab Daikon Rolls, Oaxacan Grilled chicken Masa Basket, Salsa Roja, Guacamole Crema, BT Popper-Grape Tomato Stuffed with Bacon, Garlic Aioli, Truffled Mushroom Arancini, Parmesan Emulsion, Mini Fava Bean, Cotija and lemon Kate Taco-Pickled Fresno Chili and Quinoa Tofu Sesame Cake, Cilantro Pineapple Chutney. Butler service and two stationery bars and appetizer tables included a collection of Red and White Wines, Sparkling water, and signature cocktails. In the intimate Rodin Galleries a musical interlude featured the world premiere of “The Three Graces” to the music of Chopin and Schubert, “The Coronation of the Last Emperor” in traditional ribbon and classical Chinese fan dance and The Swan en pointe with music from Saint Saens. Like elegant moving sculptures, the dancers choreography emphasized the beauty of line, grace and poetry in motion. 

“Emperor” and Director/Choreographer Bubba Gong with Master of Ceremonies John Celona served as event co-chairs.

Thematic lighting refelecting the Peacock inspired-costuming and jewels from the exhibition featured turquoise and radiant orchid up lights, purple draped silk tables, and dramatic paisley gobos throughout the galleries, dining room and balcony terrace. 

Gathering at the Hall of Antiquities for an electrifying floor show, guests were transported to the sands of the Sahara, sunny beaches of Havana, drums of West Africa and to a spicy Samba del Mundo…driving the world Porsche. 

Dinner followed with the first course: Asian pear salad with haricots verts and jicama, butter lettuce and radicchio, frisée, cashews, and yuzu dressing served on silver rimmed chargers on a purple satin crush table with magenta orchid florals and candle votives. A choice of the main entrée included a Dijon mustard and shallot crusted filet of beef, roasted filet of Loch Duart salmon or wild mushroom and caramelized onion ravioli served with warm artisan breads and dinner rolls and creamery butter. Dessert featured a classic opera cake tranche with raspberry smear and crushed hazelnut.

Attendees dressed to the nines in elegant evening wear were treated to signature cocktails “The Turbo Carrera” and saffron-infused champagne “Saffron S.”

A collection of fine wines included Tangent Sauvignon Blanc, Edna Valley, Mossback Chardonnay, Russian River Valley , Rancho Sisquoc Merlot, Santa Barbara, Ft. Point Kolsch, Anchor Steam and Amstel Light beers, soft drinks, sparkling waters and juices. 

GGR President Brad Kellett announced the regional award winners which included:

  • Enthusiast of the Year, Eric Portzline;
  • Family of the Year, The Niedel Family;
  • Social Event of the Year, Bubba Gong for Volunteer Appreciation;
  • Perc Bliss Award, Michael Griffin.
President Brad Kellett presides over the awards.

Autocross Chair, Ed Hunter presented the awards to autocross winners Sharon Castle, RJ Harrison, Brant Ballantyne, Himanshu Patel, and Tosh Yumae.  

Tosh collects his award.

Carlsen Porsche provided raffle prizes which were meticulously wrapped in silver and purple ribbons by Captain Mike Sherman. Ed Hunter provided additional raffle prizes which included wine and beers from Alameda. Assisting with the awards and raffle presentation was Treasurer Bryan Phan. 

Master of Ceremonies John Celona, ever the showman, cited the Spirit of WAKANDA in his comic final remarks of welcome and inclusion and diversity….”it’s not just about the cars, it’s about the PEOPLE.” 

With special thanks and gratitude to the photographers and videographers who kept pace with the lively evening of surprises and locations throughout The Legion: Rich and Jolie Tsai, Dave Whittenbrook of Playbackmemories, Kenny Ravelo and Andrew Arebejo, PCA Photography and shout out to PCA Marketing Director Jim Hemig. Keeping watch over PORSCHES…our dedicated San Francisco Police Department and Park Rangers. 

AX Chair Ed Hunter hosted a table of Autocross winners enjoying the dazzling decor and sumptuous cuisine.

Regional Porsche Club Presidents, past and present, gathered under the stars in the magnificent Court of Honor in a grand finale which featured America’s Got Talent’s LIONDANCEME directed by Norman Lau with live percussion and double lions shining like diamonds under a star filled sky with LED lights. 

On a vibrant, dramatic, inspired Porsche evening….the 58thAnnual Awards Gala culminated with Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” A magical, rare and once in a lifetime moment never to be forgotten like the 70,2 carat “Idol’s Eye” diamond on display and one for the history of the Golden Gate Region Porsche Club. 

Past and Current Presidents of the Golden Gate, Redwood, and Yosemite Region: (L to R), Sharon Neidel, Chip Witt, Brad Kellett, Andrew Forrest, John Celona, David Bunch and David Graas gather for a Presidential Summit with America’s Got Talent’s LionDanceMe under the stars. .

More pics by GGR Photographer Rich Tsai are here.

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