Visitors and Residents Invited to ACC’s Snow Ball Gala January 21

Janet and Martin Marshall are hosting the ACC annual gala at their stunning home A La Mer.

Five years ago, the Animal Care Center of St. John decided to feature a theme at its annual winter fundraising gala.

The gala was to be hosted at Kismet, the gorgeous property on Love City’s south shore coast, and an Arabian Nights theme was chosen to complement the villa’s Moorish architecture. When Kismet owners, Dr. Jerome and Mrs. Liz Levy, announced they planned to greet guests while wearing Arabian dress, everything fell into place.

The delighted response to the idea of a theme for “Christmas for the Animals” kicked off a whole series of subsequent theme galas. The following year saw scores of attendees arriving at the English- and Metz-owned Tango Mare overlooking Hart Bay for a “Roaring Twenties” party, all wearing flapper-style dresses and 1920s-era loose jackets and fedora-type hats.

By then themes were an established custom, and the next year’s theme was “Swinging Sixties” at Olaf and Karen Nelson’s TreVista. Guests creatively assembled sixties outfits for the event. Last year’s “Walk on the Wild Side” hosted at Glen and Joanne Hall’s “Hall House” in Chocolate Hole, prompted an outbreak of safari clothing never before seen on St. John.

This year, it’s a Snow Ball! On Saturday evening, January 21, from 6:30 until 10 p.m. Janet and Martin Marshall’s fabulous new complex on Great Cruz Bay, A La Mer, will be decorated as a winter wonderland.


Strings of icicle lights and lighted snowflakes are only some of the planned decorations. ACC vice president Karin Schlessinger is arriving from Florida next week with four suitcases full of decorations.


“Ice Princesses and Snow Kings are especially welcome,” said Schlessinger.

In general “island fancy” or even formal attire will be the evening’s style of choice. After all, it is a ball! The band ISH, under the baton of Jared Warren, will provide the wonderfully danceable music characteristic of the group.

And when ISH takes a band break, Michelle Fage has arranged for Pyros of the Caribbean to entertain with Fuego, Sandwich, and Gina Wellner performing their breathtaking fire dances. Fire and ice!

Delicious food and beverages are essential to every gala. Appetizers, finger foods, and desserts are promised from many of the island’s well-known chefs and caterers, all coordinated by East/West catering’s Julie Van Pelt. ACC president B.J. Harris promises an open bar throughout the evening as well as wine and champagne pairings to complement the wide variety of finger foods.

Winter wonderland décor, ISH music, Pyros entertainment, finger foods and desserts, and an open bar are not the end of the planned delights. Upon arriving at the gala, each guest will be given a beautiful party favor. ACC treasurer Monica Munro says the nature of the favors is to be a secret until party time, but everyone will love them. Last year’s guests at “Walk on the Wild Side” will remember the feather boas, striped cats’ ears, and animal masks that added to the jungle fun.

Not least, Deb Duplisea is organizing an array of raffle prizes, both large and small. Great villa and hotel stays and lovely items for raffle prizes have been promised. There is even a pet portrait by Liv Hitchcock among the offerings. Raffle ticket prices are very inexpensive at $5 a ticket or $20 for five tickets.

This year, ACC is extending a special invitation to visitors to the island and to villa renters. It’s a great way to meet lots of island residents, at the same time helping to fund the island’s small shelter for homeless and abused dogs and cats.

Great Cruz Bay is so easy to reach and there is generous parking space at and near A La Mer. To reach the villa from Cruz Bay, take the South Shore road in the direction of the Westin Resort. Watch for the Great Cruz Bay Road sign to the right (across from the dumpster station past the resort).

A La Mer is on the right-hand side of Great Cruz Bay Road just the other side of the dinghy landing area. Park at the landing area immediately after Beach Villa.

Tickets to the Snow Ball are $100 per person in advance and $125 at the door. They are available at Connections, the Nest at Mongoose Junction, St. John Hardware, Chelsea Drug Store, and Catered To Vacation Homes, all at The Marketplace. Tickets are also available at St. John Properties next to Mongoose Junction and at Keep Me Posted, as well as on the web at

The little shelter on the library road is full to the brim with tame and adoptable cats and kittens and with dogs and puppies all needing good homes.  Every dollar earned at the Snow Ball goes towards feeding, medicating, and housing the shelter animals, to paying the shelter staff, and towards spaying and neutering homeless cats at the ACC’s many feeding stations.

Come and have a photograph taken by the island newspaper to be featured in the forthcoming issues of St. John Tradewinds. ACC promises an evening to remember.