These two volunteer-dependent organizations respond to everything from mishaps in the backcountry to accidents on the Highway 145 Spur, serving as this isolated region’s lauded first line of emergency response. They stay busy, with around 600 calls a year. But this weekend, the members of these two lifesaving organizations join forces for a different reason. The Lifesaver's Ball, a benefit for the two nonprofit groups, will make its outrageous return to the local party calendar on Saturday evening, Jan. 15, at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village.
The annual EMS fundraiser has been in hibernation for the last decade, says Telluride EMS Chief Paramedic Emil Sante. But the Lifesaver's Ball will make its return to Telluride’s social calendar this week; and thanks to the fire twirlers, jugglers, trapeze artists and contortionists slated to perform at the event, its return should be a grand one, Sante says.
“It used to be a great party,” Sante recalls of the Lifesaver's Balls of yesteryear. “We wanted to resurrect that atmosphere” with the 2011 event, facilitated by its carnival theme.
Six performers from Durango’s Salt Fire Circus group will be on-hand for the bash, adding what Sante calls “an interesting spectacle” to an evening already packed with music, food, dancing and overall cheer. Fire twirlers will welcome guests as they arrive; stilts-walkers and mimes will mingle with partygoers; contortionists and jugglers will entertain onlookers; and a trapeze artist will dangle overhead while guests collect beverages at one of two bars.
“It’s going to have a little bit of something for everyone,” Sante says. The band Joint Point will ramp up the festivities in the main room of the Conference Center, while DJ Ryan Smith warms up in the front wing, before taking over from Joint Point on the main stage for late-night partiers. Chef Jake Linzinmeir will serve up endless appetizers; there will also be an extensive silent auction.
“It’s the biggest fundraiser for the year for both organizations,” Sante says of the upcoming party, which begins at 7 p.m.
The fundraiser offers a chance for the community to support two of its most vital but often overlooked organizations. “I feel like we do a good job,” says Sante , who has been a part of Telluride’s EMS department for 16 years, the last six as its Chief Paramedic. “This is an opportunity for people to help us continue to do a good job.”
Tickets for the event are $40, and can be purchased at the Brown Bag, from any EMS or SAR member, or at the door.