Tickets are on sale for annual Hats Off to San Diego luncheon

hatsoffOrganizers promise there will be even more laughter, applause and gaiety at the 19th annual Gold (Gifts of Loving Donors) Diggers’ “Hats Off to San Diego” luncheon than ever before.

With the theme, “A Salute to Broadway,” there will be toe tapping under the tables, swaying to the music, and a surprise as this year’s contestants model their hats before the crowd.

The event begins with a Champagne Social at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 3, at The Prado in Balboa Park. The hat event has been renamed “The Betty Mabee Hat Parade,” in honor of the deceased founder of the Gold Diggers. Fashion personality Leonard Simpson will be the Master of Ceremonies.

“People are going to see a wonderful event and they are going to want to be involved in coming years,” said co-chair Diana Vuich, who shares duties with Priscilla Webb. “There will be four, silent auction packages and a drawing for a $500 money hat.”

The event committee has chosen ElderHelp and San Diego Junior Theatre to receive sizable gifts on that day. (Donations to ElderHelp assure there will be help for older adults who are not poor enough to qualify for county or state services, but cannot afford to get help on their own. San Diego Junior Theatre provides productions for children of all ages and abilities since its beginning in 1948.)

In addition, donations will also go to other local groups. A striking and creative hat that blends the purposes and goals of the local charity it represents with the theme chosen by the Gold Diggers Board of Directors, will be a top candidate for the best prize.

This year’s hat parade contestants are Autism Tree Project Foundation, After School All-Stars, Angels of Aseltine, ARC of San Diego, Classics4Kids, Employment and Community Options, The Friends of Braille Institute, Just in time for Foster Youth, San Diego Floral Association, Young Audiences of San Diego, and YMCA Youth and Family Services.

Votes from the guests determine who wins the other prizes. The 18-Karate Gold Award $2000; the 49er Award $1,000, and the Prospector Awardee $750.

Jackie Bailey is taking ticket reservations, $75 each, at (619) 670-3643. For more information, visit