Mention the word gala or ball to most men, and it evokes images of stiff collars, cummerbunds and shiny shoes.
But the dress for the inaugural Hunt Ball at the Frederica Golf Club Boathouse on Oct. 6 is a few steps below the elusive island casual. Guests at the benefit for Habitat for Humanity of Glynn County are encouraged to get decked out in their favorite stylish hunting clothes, including camouflage, for the theme “helping others in their hunt for a home.”
Becca Randall, director of development and community relations for Habitat, said the organization was looking for something different and more inviting than many experience in fundraisers.
“We wanted to come up with something casual on a Sunday afternoon,’’ Randall said.
And the late afternoon and evening event is decidedly different. It celebrates the southern hunt with wildlife artists and artisans, live raptor demonstrations with owls, hawks and hounds, exhibitions of vintage and European marksmanship, chances at hunting and fishing experiences and the Mason Waters Band.
Dressing for the event should be easy, said Elaine Griffin, who chairs a committee of 20 volunteers who organized the event.
“Every man has an outfit he hunts in,’’ she said.
She is also hopeful this will reverse the practice of women cajoling their husbands to attend events to support worthy causes.
“Hopefully, it’s the husband dragging the wives,’’ she said.
The committee has lined up a lot of people willing to donate their time and talent to Habitat’s cause.
It hits close to home for Dave Snyder, who owns the Halyard Restaurant Group that includes Halyards, Tramici and La Plancha.
“We love Habitat,’’ Snyder said, and they showed it by volunteering some sweat equity.
About a decade ago, a team of about 15 Halyard workers helped paint a Habitat house that is owned by a cook in an island restaurant.
“It’s great to help someone in the restaurant business,’’ he said.
Snyder is among the chefs providing dinner at the Hunt Ball, but it won’t end there. In the silent auction, he’s also offering a fishing trip and dinner for four.
“We’ll take them out when it’s good for them. A fun fishing trip and a great dinner,’’ he said.
The winning bidder will go out for inshore fishing for trout, redfish and flounder and then get to pick dinner from the menu of any of the three restaurants complete with “some good wine,’’ Snyder said.
Features like those provided by Snyder will make it “a signature event,’’ Griffin said. “We wanted to offer guests something no other fund-raiser does.”
Tom Delaney will also provide some signature touches of his own.
“I’m going to be doing some game dishes,’’ Delaney said, ‘’antelope chops and buffalo sliders.”
It’s not as simple as it sounds. The buffalo sliders will be accompanied by pickled onions and the antelope chops will barbecued with Kafir-Lime sauce.
Delaney serves antelope at Delaney’s and said it has some of the properties of venison although it’s a lighter in color and is more delicate.
Delaney said the venue will help make the event more enjoyable.
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful backdrop,’’ he said of the boathouse.
He also has deep feelings about the cause partly because all the funds raised will go to local people.
“It’s going to provide a place to live for people who don’t have the means,’’ he said.
Delaney said he has also worked on Habitat house and described his contribution as a gopher.
“That’s not my skill set,’’ he said of his construction abilities.
In addition to Delaney and Snyder, there will be a number of chefs using their skill sets at the Hunt Ball.
Frederica Golf Club chef Georges Reichen promises shrimp-and-grits, oysters and barbecue pork tacos. Sea Island’s Danny Zeal will make bourbon bread pudding. Dave Carrier of Certified Burger will cook pork-based Tacos Al Pastor. Hernan Stutzer from Del Sur will add Argentinian flare to flat iron steak sandwiches with chimichurri, and Amanda Brown, a former New York caterer now living on St. Simons, will also be contributing to the event.
George Jackson of Frederica Food and Beverage will handle the libations. Steve Schoettle will be at the event with a fire kettle he produced at Sea Island Forge.
A couple of days before the ball, Bryce Brock and Kelly Revels of The Vine will host a fall/hunt themed floral arrangement workshop using foraged local elements. The Fall Forage of Frederica benefiting Habitat will be at the boathouse Friday from 10:30 a.m. until noon.
Habitat has enjoyed broad support since Ben Slade founded it 30 years ago to get Glynn County and Brunswick residents out of slum housing. This fundraiser celebrating the sporting life in the great outdoors will help provide a better indoors experience for families and individuals. It is not geared toward the homeless and instead makes homeowners of people whose dwellings are insufficient for their needs and are sometimes woefully sub-standard. At times during construction, Habitat officials have had to find temporary housing for people living in tumble-down and leaking mobile homes or residences with so few bedrooms children sleep on living room couches.
As it passes its third decade, Habitat is entering a new phase in which it will build a neighborhood. The affiliate has closed on four acres near Brunswick High in unincorporated Glynn County where it plans to build up to 15 homes. Having just completed its 87 home, one of the houses in Century Place will, as the name suggests, be the 100th.
Recipe to be presented at the Hunt Ball
Four Roses ￼￼
2 oz. Four Roses Bourbon
.25 oz. Cardamaro or Montenegro 1 oz. chai tea concentrate
4 oz. unfiltered apple cider splash lemon
Combine all ingredients and stir — or quadruple it for a punch — or serve warm!
To make chai tea concentrate, just brew chai tea extremely strong and reduce. You can also add sweeteners at this point