Viva Las Vista

ALL IN — Attendees at last year's Viva Las Vista try their hand for the chance to win gift baskets.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? That might sound like a strange question coming from me considering I typically only write about Bona Vista, right? So what’s the catch? Don’t worry. I’ll connect all the dots (or neon tubing) for you real quick.

On Friday, Feb. 8, from 7 to 10 p.m., Bona Vista Programs is bringing a small taste of Las Vegas to Kokomo. Elvis won’t be there, but it will be much like being in Vegas in many other ways (and not like Vegas in some other ways). But, the best way that it won’t be like Vegas is that all of the money raised will benefit the children and adults served by Bona Vista Programs!

During our 3rd Annual Viva Las Vista casino night event, the Kokomo Country Club will be transformed to look like a casino. If you’ve never been to the casino or you’ve never played casino games online, don’t worry! You’ll fit right in. This night is not just for the pros (and, believe me, I’m thankful for that). The dealers from the Sertoma Group of Broadripple are so patient and are such great teachers. They will tell you everything you need to know, and they are happy to do it! They want you to win!

What kind of games might you find in our 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!

What 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.

Want to know how it won’t be like Vegas? There won’t be any cocktail waitresses. If you want something from the buffet or bar, unfortunately you’ll have to get it yourself (or find a friend who delivers to your seat at the table). We also don’t serve unlimited alcoholic beverages to those who are gambling. That’s just not our style – drink responsibly. Also, there will be no smoking inside our casino (AKA the Kokomo Country Club). Oh, and one of the biggest ways it won’t be like Vegas, you won’t walk away with any cash money (only amazing prizes). Maybe you don’t when you go to Vegas anyway, so that’s not a big deal to you. Who am I to judge?

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Again… this is a fund raiser, not a fund-giver-away-er. But, you will have the chance to win one of several raffle basket prizes. When I say raffle basket, though, I don’t mean your momma’s raffle basket. I’m talking one basket that will hold a pair of Kelly Clarkson concert tickets thanks to our friends at WWKI. These are a hot ticket to shake off the winter blues, and they could be yours just for coming and enjoying the evening with us! Some of the other baskets are being put together by Soupley’s Wine & Spirits, Coca-Cola Kokomo, Indiana University Kokomo, White’s Meat Market, and Kokomo Walmart. Those are just some examples. I don’t want to show my entire hand before the night of the event. What kind of gambler would I be if I did that?

So, how do we make money if you’re not playing for cash? It’s your ticket price. For $40 for an individual or $70 for a couple, you get to partake in casino games, food, and fun all while supporting a good cause – the adults and children we serve on a daily basis. Another way you can impact the bottom line during the event is by purchasing more poker chips. Obviously, we hope you win big from the beginning. But, in the event that you go “all in” and don’t win, you’re not out for the night! You can purchase bags of 15 poker chips for just $10 to keep the fun going all night long – or at least until 10 p.m. when the event ends.

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. If you don’t have your ticket yet, you can go to, click on “Events” and then find Viva Las Vista. Or, you can stop by 1220 E. Laguna St. in Kokomo and pay for them in person. We would love to have you come and see what it’s all about.

Let me remind you to get your tickets in advance, too! They are $40 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 $70 (in advance)! The night of the event, the ticket price goes up to $50 each and $80 a couple. So don’t delay!

We also couldn’t do this without our sponsors: Advanced Medical Imaging, Beckley Office Supply, Brenneco Fire Protection, City of Firsts Community FCU, The DeHayes Group, Dr. Thomas Prather, Duke Energy, First Bank of Berne, JA Benefits, Liberty Financial, Monroe Construction, Smith Financial Corp., Sycamore Financial Group, WWKI, and Wyman Group (as of the time of me writing this). Please support these community partners! We are a better organization because they support us!