Movin’ and groovin’ 2005

The Groovy Fete holds dinner-dance to benefit University Medical Center at Princeton.

By: Christian Kirkpatrick
   The hippies threw a happening Friday night at Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym. There, dressed in love beads and tie-dye, some 400 of the area’s grooviest people assembled for the June Fete dinner-dance, which benefited the University Medical Center at Princeton.
   Inside, the gym was decorated in enormous peace signs, wreaths of balloons in Peter Max pastels, and giant versions of those daisies that schoolgirls used to doodle in their notebooks. The year was 1965, and everyone dressed the part, though an exuberant few might have been, sartorially speaking, a year or two ahead of their time.
   Some guests wore bell-bottoms, suitably embroidered; peasant dresses, and shirts in Indian prints or pants in psychedelic paisleys. Others sported Mod gear fit for Carnaby Street or an Andy Warhol happening.
   Happily, though, there were no Twiggy look-a-likes to concern any eating-disorder specialists on hand.
   Dinner dance co-chair Tracie Elliott-Schulman of Pennington dressed as a flower child, and her husband, Larry Schulman, appeared as that international man of mystery, Austin Powers. Ms. Elliot-Schulman seemed to have enjoyed bringing the Age of Aquarius to Jadwin Gym, and was particularly enthusiastic about the oldies band, The Jukebox Heroes, which played that evening. What better group for a dance entitled "Move to the Groove and Groove to the Moves of the ’60s?"
   Co-chair Debbie Lang, looking elegantly Mod, was equally excited about the four professional dancers who performed along with the band. And the Princeton resident was thrilled about the clever give-aways being provided to guests — tie-dyed hats and bandannas, sunglasses and clip-on hairpieces. Guests could also have their pictures taken in front of a Love Bug.
   The Fete has always been a major contributor to the hospital, noted Jack Chamberlin, chairman of the Medical Center’s board of trustees. It attracts a lot of people, not just from Princeton but also from the surrounding communities. Many of them eventually become patients at the hospital, where they use equipment that they helped to purchase by attending Fetes. All proceeds from the 2005 benefit will go to the Medical Center’s Breast Health Center, which is scheduled to open in 2006.
   "I’ve worked on these events for about 20 years," said Mr. Chamberlin’s wife, Mary. "I know about the heart-warming dedication of the volunteers, and I’ve made some very dear friends working at the Fete."
   Lots of attendees remembered attending the Fete as children. "I grew up going to the Fete on the PCD (Princeton Country Day School) grounds," recalled Linda Sheldon of Ringoes. Former Township Mayor Dick Woodbridge said that his mother worked for various Fetes and that he remembers attending them when they were held at Palmer Stadium and Westminster Choir College.
   2005 Fete co-chair Christine Calandra certainly remembers her mother, Bettie Greber, working at the benefit. Ms. Greber was a Fete co-chair in 2003 and has helped with the event for about 23 years. This year she solicited corporate donations for the event, and her husband, Patrick, oversaw parking.
   Running the Fete has been absolutely fantastic, said Ms. Calandra, but very demanding. The Princeton Junction resident assumed her role the day after the 2004 Fete closed and worked diligently thereafter — even while pregnant with her daughter, Grace Marie, who was born last month.
   And her co-chair, Brooke Rossi, also from Princeton Junction, worked just as hard, she said.
   The dinner dance was underwritten by Community Liquors; La Mezzaluna; Lawn Doctor of Princeton, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Sponsors of the Fete included Bovis Lend Lease; Long Motor Company/Volvo of Princeton; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Garden Homes of Princeton, and the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.