AAUW’s scholarship gala: ‘A Night of Inspiration’ with emphasis on the eyes

Colorful appetizers like these get the eyes and mouth ready for an evening of fine dining. Antipasti on a stick: delicious, olives, artisan cheeses, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts and authentic salami, skewered together for perfection and drizzled with homemade pesto. And another popular favorite, Caprese Bites: mozzarella cheese, paired with juicy red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil with an aged balsamic drizzle. | Photo AAUW-St. George, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An evening of dining, inspirational speakers and dancing under the stars, billed as “A Night of Inspiration,” will be the fare for those attending Saturday night’s scholarship gala put on by the St. George Branch of the American Association of University Woman.

The gala will be held at the DiFiore Center, 307 N. Main St., in St. George from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person, available online.

Inspiration will be brought by speakers Bonnie Jean Beesley, former chair of the Utah Board of Regents, Lauralyn VanWagoner, 2015 AAUW scholarship recipient, and Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams, president of Dixie State University.

Event caterer Jennifer Polanowski said she plans a “feast for the eyes” for those attending. “Every chef has nuances for the dishes they prepare, and I have mine,”  Polanowski said, “but eating is a sensual experience that begins with the eyes.”

Then comes the taste, she said. Polanowski saw the importance of how foods look while watching 30 hungry cowboys “dig in” or lean back when they sat down to the food she fixed for them while growing up on her family’s dude ranch in Wyoming.

“It was a good feeling when they really enjoyed what I served, so when my husband died seven years ago and I had children to raise, I decided to start a business doing what I liked.”

Polanowski spent most of those seven years learning how to be a professional chef, she said, until seven months ago when she opened her Just A Little Bite Cooking Company in St. George.

Event flyer | Image courtesy of aauw-stgeorge.org, St. George News
Event flyer courtesy of AAUW-St. George, St. George News | click on image to enlarge

“It’s an adventure and preparing the food for the St. George AAUW’s Scholarship Gala is a highlight for me,” Polanowski said, “because they encourage and support what I have worked to be, skilled, self-reliant and able to raise a family that makes me proud.”

The scholarship gala will be held Saturday, 6-10 p.m. at the DiFiore Center, 307 N. Main St., in St. George. Seating is limited, and tickets are $75 available for purchase online.

Speakers include Bonnie Jean Beesley, former chair of the Utah Board of Regents; Lauralyn VanWagoner, 2015 AAUW scholarship recipient; and Richard “Biff” Williams, president of Dixie State University.

About AAUW

The American Association of University Women is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since its inception in 1881, AAUW members have researched and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day: educational, social, economic and political.

The AAUW St. George branch is an extension of the National AAUW. Founded in 1981 their mission is to help advance equity for women and girls in Utah through advocacy, philanthropy and education.

Event details

  • What: Scholarship gala with catering by Just a Little Bite Cooking Company
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 24, 6-10 p.m.
  • Where: DiFiore Center, 307 N. Main Street, St. George
  • Tickets: $75 per person, seating limited. Tickets available online only

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