viva las vista

WINNING — Attendees at last year's Viva Las Vista try their luck. This year's fund-raising event takes place Jan. 31 at the Kokomo Country Club.

I spoke to several first-timers at the Viva Las Vista event for Bona Vista this past February. The one thing they all had in common was that they didn’t realize how fun the event could be and that you didn’t have to know anything about gambling to have said fun.

So, in an effort to entice more people to attend, like the first-timers that I spoke to, we are making sure that we drive this selling point: BEGINNERS ARE WELCOME when we host our fourth annual Viva Las Vista on Jan. 31, 2020!

The amazing dealers through the Sertoma Group of Broadripple encourage any and all players at their gaming tables. They explain the rules, tell you how to make a bet, and assist you with any questions that you have about the game. They want you to win! But, it’s also OK if you lose because you can purchase more chips throughout the night.

If you haven’t heard about Viva Las Vista, it is a fund raiser that benefits Bona Vista Programs. This is our fourth year, and we are excited to be back at the Kokomo Country Club again in 2020. The venue will be transformed to look like just like a casino with multiple gaming tables, dealers, a pizza buffet, bar, and decorations to make you feel like you’re right in the sweet spot of Las Vegas.

What kind of games might you find in our transformed casino? We will have Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Wheel of Fortune, Roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em, Over/Under… just to name a few. And they aren’t set up on card tables like you’d find if we were hosting this in my garage. These are big, legit gaming tables. More than one of each, as well, so I don’t want you to envision a room with just seven tables in it!

This year, we have reduced ticket prices. We want to provide a casual, affordable experience for our community and supporters. Tickets are $30 per person or $50 for a couple (with Christmas right before and Valentine’s around the corner, I think this is a perfect gift – but I’m biased).

What exactly do you get for your ticket price? Each ticket comes with 15 starter poker chips. So, you don’t have to buy extra on top of your ticket price. In addition, we also will have a pizza and breadstick buffet for you to enjoy all evening, and our friends at the Bona Vista Bistro will have a table full of yummy desserts set up. There will be a live DJ and dance floor (in case you need a break from the action), a 50/50 raffle, and your chance to win a fabulous prize at the end of the night. Oh, and there will be a cash bar available, if you’d like to partake, but it’s definitely optional. We’d be remiss not to have it, though because... Vegas.

One way that it’s not like Vegas is that this is a fund raiser, so no cash will be exchanged. I know, I know – what’s the point of gambling without getting something in the end? Well – you just may get some fabulous prizes! When you get your 15 chips, you start to gamble, hopefully successfully. Once you get 25 chips, that equals one raffle ticket. (Remember, you can purchase chips if you lose or don’t have as many as you would like. We got your back!) At the end of the night, you turn in your chips for raffle tickets, and then you place that raffle ticket in front of one of our many baskets. Last year we gave away concert tickets, grills, sports tickets, and gift certificates, and this year we promise to make these baskets even more fabulous.

Whether you walk away with one of our prizes at the end of the night or not, you still won because we won by your donation of your ticket price. So buy yours today! Tickets are on sale at bonavista.org. Click on “Events,” and then find "Viva Las Vista." Or, you can stop by 1220 E. Laguna St. in Kokomo or our media sponsor WWKI’s radio station and pay for them in person. We would love to have you come experience Viva Las Vista with us on Jan. 31, 2020.

Let me remind you to get your tickets in advance, too! They are $30 each now until the event starts. However, if you bring a date or a friend or random stranger you sat next to while reading this article you can get two tickets for just $50 (in advance). The night of the event, the ticket price goes up to $40 each and $60 a couple. So, don’t delay.

If you would like to sponsor or donate to the event, we will offer tons of marketing via our radio sponsor WWKI, our website, and social media platforms. We love community partners. Please contact Brittnee Smith or Alison Brantley at 765-457-8273, bsmith@bonavista.org, or abrantley@bonavista.org respectively if you’re interested in being a part of Viva Las Vista!