Newport Polo has announced that its 16th annual International Polo Charity Ball raised over $20K to support newportFILM.  Held at Rosecliff, one of Newport’s famed Bellevue Avenue mansions, Bal du Soleil received over 400 guests making a red carpet entrance in glamorous French Riviera-themed black tie & evening gowns for a night of exquisite gourmet French cuisine, dancing, and heart-warming philanthropy to welcome international guests of honor, the French Polo Team, and support the 2016 beneficiary, newportFilm.

The sold-out black tie affair began with a pre-gala Meet & Greet sunset soiree with the French Team at Forty 1° North, where the team headquartered.  Then on to Rosecliff for a reception on the terrace with Honorary Ambassador Andrea van Beuren, Founder and Artistic Director of newportFILM, and Polo AmbassadorsHeather & Roger Souto, where an enchanting panorama of gardens and twilight ocean views drew guests out onto the lawn.  Enticing hors d’oeuvres were passed and specialty cocktails from the Cocktail Guruenhanced the mood for a highly anticipated Silent Auction of unique and carefully-curated items and exclusive opportunities offered over the course of the evening.

As the colors of dusk faded, guests adjourned for a seated gourmet dinner in the gilded ballroom adorned in the colors of the French tri-color.  Live musical entertainment from Decades by Dezyne added to the magic, and a whirlwind Live Auction was wizarded by Sotheby’s auctioneer, Hugh Hildesley, who offered up the night’s crown jewels.  Blackstone Catering’s chef created the 3-course French grande cuisine menu.  Aprèsdinner guests heightened the competition in Silent Auction bidding, and enjoyed refreshments and dancing under the spell of the orchestra until the stroke of midnight.  The odyssey’s finale ascended to the Skybar, atop Clarke Cooke House for a last dance.

The 2016 beneficiary was the dynamic newportFILM, a year-round documentary film series that brings powerful messages and engaging experiences to the community. Films screened at unique locations across Aquidneck Island are curated from festivals around the world and represent the work of established and emerging filmmakers.  Harnessing the power of film to inspire, motivate, entertain and create change, newportFILM presents year–round programming and dialogue on the issues that matter.

“This worthy organization connects our community to the world around us and inspires us to rise above ourselves,” adds Dan Keating, Founder & President of Newport Polo.  “Enriching our quality of life through works of art from the silver screen earned our support in our Silver Jubilee year.”

Sponsors included the Official Gala Hotel, Forty 1° North, Newport’s newest waterfront destination, state-of-the-art Hotel and Marina, for beautifully appointed lodgings, extraordinary service, exciting restaurants and chic lounges – everything you’d expect in a world class resort.  Ranked #9 Best Hotels in the Northeast by Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards.  Located at 351 Thames Street, Newport, 401-846-8018.

16 years and counting, the International Polo Charity Ball is the social highlight of the summer, when polo players, enthusiasts and supporters come together for a lively celebration while supporting worthy charitable organizations. Festivities carried on through the weekend as the international guests of honor took to the polo field on the following day to challenge USA. An annual New England Lobsterbake brought a brilliant conclusion to an extraordinary weekend.

Additional event details are online.  To view a gallery of photo mémoires from the 16th annual International Polo Charity Ball, with Images by Michelle Oeil Photography, Quisan Taylor Lawhon, Stefy Hilmer,  Kimberly Rowe, and others, please visit the Newport Polo Facebook album.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).