By: Marilyn R. Wilson

All images by: Ed Ng Photography

On Saturday, March 5th, a well-heeled, enthusiastic crowd filled the Brian Jessel BMW showroom for the 11th Annual Cabriolet Charity Gala in support of Pancreatic Cancer research . For those who do not know, Pancreatic Cancer still has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. 75% do not make it past the first year, and the five year survival rate is only 8%. It is also very difficult to detect in its early stages. It claimed Brian Jessel’s father in 2010.

Cabriolet is a luxurious evening that brings together everything we love – great food, great people, great music, great fashion, and a chance to truly make a difference. On arrival, friendly, welcoming valets were on hand to whisk your car away. White canopies were set up outside to keep guests dry while they checked in. The showroom was completely transformed – it was simply stunning. The colour theme this evening was black, and white – from the decor to the fashions of those in attendance. The mood was enhanced by the fabulous music spun by DJ Emilita, and accompanied by percussionist “Pher.”

The first stop on entry was a media wall. Everyone was dressed to the nines, and ready to capture the moment with friends. Next came a lovely glass of wine from one of the many stations located throughout the venue, and sampling some of the gourmet bites. Scattered throughout the dealership were thirteen food stations offering tasty savoury bites, wonderful sweets, and organic coffee by local establishments – Joey, Boulevard, Savoury Chef, Joe Fortes, Cioffi, La Glace, Panne Riza, Bosa Foods, Cocktail & Canapes, Terra Breads, Ethical Bean, and Temper Pastry.

Early in the evening guests mixed, and mingled, laughed, snapped photos, played a few hands at the mock “Prive Casino”, and visited the silent auction room to place their bids. Then all eyes turned to the stage. Our emcees for the evening were Russell James, of KISS FM, and Kiah Tucker of JACK FM. It all began with a video tribute to BMW’s 100 years in business, and Brian Jessel BMW’s 30 years. Two amazing milestones. An amazing 100 dozen roses adorned the showroom in celebration.

The charity portion of the evening was next. Dan Renour from Pancreas Centre BC, and the BC Cancer Agency shared a bit about Pancreatic Cancer, opening our eyes to how much research needs to be done. Then auctioneer Howard Blank brought his strong sales skills to bear. Under his influence, the bidding was fast, furious, and fierce. Eight amazing auction packages went for top dollars, including a commemorative Laura K. Jewett Necklace. Next he invited those in the audience to pledge donations at various dollar amounts. Again, the response from the audience was enthusiastic, and generous.

After the crazy energy created by bidding, it was time to cool the audience down. What better way than a high-end fashion show featuring designer labels from Holt Renfrew. Internationally acclaimed stylist Tracey Pincott stepped in to put together a show offering the perfect selection of Spring’s hottest fashions in a wide range of styles. There was something for everyone. A last fund raising game of Heads and Tails came next, followed by the final performance of the evening by Juno nominated, emerging solo artist/singer/songwriter Shawn Hook.

Show over, silent auction bidders headed over to check out if they won one of the amazing donations, while guests continued to mingle, into the wee hours, to the sounds of DJ Emilita, and percussionist “Pher”. Cabriolet Gala 2016 was an amazing success raising a whopping $100,000 for this very worthy cause.

Special thanks to all involved for their efforts in creating such a wonderful evening– emcees Russell James, and Kiah Tucker, auctioneer Howard Blank, DJ Emilita, “Pher”, and singer Shawn Hook. The great establishments who offered tasting stations, over 90 businesses who generously donated silent auction items, all those involved in the fashion show from producer Tracey Pincott, to models, Cabriolet Chair Diana Zoppa, Cabriolet Coordinator Susanna Stewart, the Cabriolet Committee, and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly all night with smiles on their faces.

Links –

Brian Jessel BMW –

Pancreas Centre BC –

BC Cancer Agency –

Cabriolet –