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Charity polo tournament, in 3rd year, on pace to set records

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Merida, Yucatán — The finishing touches are being completed for the 3rd Annual Chicas for Charity Polo Tournament, which is fast approaching on Saturday, Nov. 17.

This year’s event is gearing up to break all records of attendance and funds raised benefit Yucatán Giving Outreach AC, a nonprofit agency serving the greater Mérida area.

The Chicas for Charity Polo Tournament is geared for the entire family. A full day of fun events, great eats, a spectacular silent auction and of course, great competitive polo playing. The festivities start promptly at 1 p.m. at the Yucatán Polo Club in Komchén, a short drive off the road to Progreso, north of the city. A red carpet welcome, along with valet parking, will be just the start of the ticket holders’ VIP experience.

This year, the event will include co-ed polo matches, played in a series of rounds with the winning team taking home the grand prize.

Along with watching the excitement on the field, all guests will be treated as VIPs. Luxury tents, signature cocktails, refreshments, a designer fashion show, a creative hat contest, live entertainment, a food court and the return of the giant silent auction await more than 600 expected guests. No shortage of fun for all ages; even a special children’s area will be set up this year.

“Polo may not be for everyone, but charity can be and fun is definitely for everybody!” exclaimed Kimmy DeGraff, co-founder of Yucatán Giving Outreach.

She went on to explain the vision of the day and promises that all the growing pains over the past two years have been addressed.

Guests will get to watch a fabulous fashion show by designer Martin López while sampling great wine and food in the VIP tent from Bing Bang Kitchen. The Youth Orchestra will perform on the field, and the sounds of Dave Bloom, a local favorite, will be on hand entertaining guests.

Hennessy’s Irish Pub returns this year with your favorite drinks and the ladies are back with the Creative Hat Contest. More than 40 women are creating over-the-top chapeaux for a special fashion show to display their creativity on the runway, each vying for the grand prize.

The Chicas for Charity Polo Committee is a mixture of dynamic volunteers who have donated their time over countless hours to create this unique event. Along with Davin-DeGraff, committee members include Fabienne O’Neil, Brie Castell, Shannon Murray, Jen Knoedl, Jessica Magilton, Crystal Parra, Melissa Adler, Carla Rogo, Edwin Tejero Herrera and YGO co-founder Dave O. Dodge.

“Putting the fun back into fundraising is what we can do,” says Dodge. “Everyone wants to help, we just want to provide a way that they can.”  

YGO launched the Season of Sharing (SOS) last year with corporate support from local companies such as Ecocentro Solar and Mérida Living Real Estate. Quickly, other like-minded businesses stepped up: Hennessy’s Irish Pub, Xootrip, Ochenta y Dos, Easy Legal Mexico, Yucatán Polo Club, Dolorfin, Yucatán Expat Life and Coca-Cola just to name a few. This year there has been many new supporters to SOS and YGO, including Hyatt Regency Merida, Heineken, Leones de Yucatán, Jabu Studio, Kan Ahua Vodka and Telcel.  

“The support has been overwhelming and the list grows daily,” she added.

Yucatan Giving Outreach (YGO) started as community page on Facebook. It shared stories of those in the community in need and for those in the community who could help.

It then blossomed two years ago into a registered nonprofit agency.

“I had no idea how big this would become,” says Kimmy Davin-DeGraff, who created the page. “Playing polo is what I do, helping others is also what I do.”

With help from Dodge, a local business owner, the agency has become the fastest-growing nonprofit service agency in Mérida, attracting both locals and expats, along with community-spirited local businesses.

Ticket (350 pesos through Saturday, Nov. 10, then 500 pesos; kids under 15, 200 pesos; and children under 5 free) are still available at the YGO Headquarters & Resale Store in Itzimná and at www.ygo.mx

“Be part of the fun. Be part of the change. Be the branch,” DeGraff tells her all supporters.

The Third Annual Chicas for Charity Polo Tournament  is Saturday Nov. 17, 2018 at the Yucatan Polo Club.

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