Fourth-annual Anti-Gala will raise money for Utah Olympic Park |

Fourth-annual Anti-Gala will raise money for Utah Olympic Park

The Utah Olympic Park’s Anti-Gala sprawls across the lawn at the base of the ski jumps in July 2017. The event is set to return for its fourth year Thursday.
Park Record file photo

For the fourth consecutive year, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation will host its annual Anti-Gala, its premier fundraiser benefiting all those who train, play and compete at the Utah Olympic Park.

“Our Anti-Gala event was envisioned as an informal gathering of friends, colleague, and community partners who believe in and support the causes of our Legacy Foundation’s efforts,” said Colin Hilton, president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which operates and maintains the UOP. “It’s meant to be a casual shorts and T-shirt evening event purposely in contrast to the traditional, more formal fundraising events. Now in our fourth year, we feel a rising momentum of support that reflects our terrific programs, world-class facilities and new efforts to see a second coming of a future Olympic and Paralympic Games to Utah.”

This year’s event, which is scheduled to take place Thursday from 6:30 to 11 p.m., is being held at the base of the UOP ski jumps. The money raised will help the Legacy Foundation fund its vast array of programs and winter sports activities.

“This is our largest fundraiser we hold at the Olympic Park and it’s the fundraiser to benefit the entire foundation,” said Lisa Rasmussen, vice president of marketing and development. “We are celebrating youth, we are celebrating sports, and we are celebrating coming out and leading a healthy and active lifestyle.”

The Anti-Gala prides itself on being a laid-back family affair.

Dinner will be provided by Riverhorse on Main and its executive chef Seth Adams, while Solid Gold, a Salt Lake-based ’70s and ’80s cover band, will supply the music for dancing. The event is meant to be casual, an opportunity for attendees to kick back and enjoy a summer evening in the company of friends.

“Our whole concept and premise is that it’s an anti-gala where you come dressed in your t-shirts, shorts and closed-toe shoes and have some fun in the park,” Rasmussen said. “… And this year we’ll be featuring some of our scholarship athletes who will be attending.”

Activities include a photo booth and axe throwing, as well as extreme tubing, alpine slide and zip line rides. That gives participants a chance to go down the same hills that some of the world’s best athletes train and compete on.

At any “gala,” some star power is needed, and the UOP’s event is no exception. Three-time Olympian and two-time medalist in moguls Shannon Bahrke Happe and Olympic mogulist Sean “Smitty” Smith. Also in attendance will be: Valerie Fleming and Shauna Rohbock, 2006 Olympic bobsled silver medalists; speed skater Derek Parra, who won gold and silver in the 2002 Games; and Olympians Heather and Graham Watanabe.

Tom Kelly addresses the crowd during the 2017 Utah Olympic Park Anti-Gala. The event is set to return for its fourth year Thursday.
Park Record file photo

There will also be three separate auctions throughout the night: silent, paddle and live. The proceeds from the auctions will go to the “Healthy Kearns Initiative,” a program aimed at helping youth lead healthy and active lifestyles.

After seeing the event grow steadily each of its first three years, the Legacy Foundation is readying for this year’s event to be its biggest ever.

“It’s an absolute blast. Anyone that comes to it is like ‘we have to this again’ and they just want to become more involved,” Rasmussen said. “By coming, you’re giving back to the community, you’re giving back to the young, but you’re having a great time doing it.”

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