Gazebo Gazette

Toast to the Coast, the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s signature dining, art, and entertainment gala, will mark its 40th year on Friday, October 20, 2023. Coordinated by an all-volunteer committee, the event is produced each year as the major fundraising event for Coast Episcopal School in Long Beach. This year, more than 20 CES parents are volunteering their times to work together to produce Toast to the Coast.

The event’s theme for its 4oth year, “Forever Young,” was chosen as an accolade to the school’s current students as well as its loyal alumni, according to Forever Young Co-Chairs Liz Seal and Amanda Wood.

“Forever Young” will be held at 845 East Scenic Drive in Pass Christian and will kick off with a 6 pm Patron Party, with the Main Event beginning at 7 PM.

Tickets can be purchased at toasttickets.org. Patron Tickets are available for $400 for two people; Main Event, $125 per person. Attendees must be 21 years of age to attend.

The gala is multifaceted. Attendees will enjoy cuisine offered by 35+ restaurants; open, full-service bars that also will feature three specialty cocktails curated by Erika Long of “The Long Pour”: Fountain of Youth, Lemonade Stand, and Pinwheel; silent and live auctions; Children in the Arts instal- lation and sales; music by Tyler Kinchen & The Right Places; and a fireworks display sponsored by United States Marine LLC.

600+ guests are expected to attend the October 20th gala, which, in addition to ticket sales, is produced with the support of 42 individual donors/patrons and corporate sponsors, the latter of which includes Seemann Composites and The Lupin Foundation.

Guests choosing to attend the 6 pm Patron Party will enjoy food provided by Rackhouse Steaks and Spirits and Half Shell Oyster House, top shelf cocktails, entertainment and an early walk- through of the main restaurant tent.

With more than 35 food and drink vendors participating in the gala, attendees will have many culinary choices. Eight of this year’s restaurants are new to the event, which also will feature, in addition to restaurants, offerings from breweries and bakeries.

In addition to the popular silent auction, this year’s “Forever Young” will include a live auction coordinated by Chuck Mutz, Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (Ms License # 1584) whose talents and expertise will enhance the fundraising experience. More than 170 items will be auctioned during the event, including but not limited to: an outdoor furniture set provided by Compton & Son; a steamboat hunting and fishing charter from Experiences; and “Forever Young”- specific items such as botox fillers, wellness packages, and wine baskets.

Each year, Toast to the Coast features works created by MS Gulf Coast schools in a Children in the Arts display.

This year, approximately 20 students from five MS Gulf Coast schools will be providing their individual works which will be available for viewing during “Forever Young.”

The submitted art will be judged during the event, with monetary prizes, provided by Hancock Whitney Bank, awarded to First, Second, and Third Place winners. Following the gala, the students’ art will be hung in the Gail Keenan Art Center Gallery located on the CES Campus, and, later this winter, the artists will be invited to participate in a free art workshop at the GKAC.

The very first Toast to the Coast was produced in 1983 and was conceived by a group of parents who wanted to support the school in a way that reflected the MS Gulf Coast food, art and music culture. Ten restaurants participated in the first year, which, in comparison to the current day gala, resembled a backyard party compared to the glittering event of today that features huge and lavish tents, an entertainment stage and themed decor throughout the gala grounds.

The longevity and growth of the event is reflective of the time and effort invested in its production. What hasn’t changed, in the last 40 years, is the purpose of the event: all profits go to support the educational experience of the students of Coast Episcopal School. Serving children ages 18 months through sixth grade, the independent school, located at 5065 Espy Avenue in Long Beach, is committed to providing its students with an unmatched educational experience in an atmosphere that fosters academic and spiritual growth both in and outside the classroom.

The 25-acre campus, in addition to its Toddler, Preschool and newly renovated Elementary School Building, also boasts the Gail Keenan Art Center, which houses the school’s art and music programs and utilizes its signature gallery for professional shows and workshops, and the Seemann Makerspace, which provide modern technology tools that integrates STEAM-based classroom curriculum into practical, hands-on experiences.

Coast Episcopal School has been dedicated to a life-long love of learning by developing the whole child – mind, body and spirit – and providing a joyful, unique and nurturing Judeo-Christian Community that inspires its students to imagine and create a better world. Founded in 1950, CES is a member of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). For information:

Coast Episcopal School, 5065 Espy Avenue, Long Beach, Miss., 39560. 228-452-9442. Coast-episcopalschool.org To purchase “Forever Young” Toast to the Coast Tickets: toasttickets.org