By: Diane Feen Contributing Writer
The Concours d’ Elegance is always an event that supersedes the ordinary charity event in Palm Beach County. It’s touchy – feely and has so much glamour and glitz that it’s like being taken up in a hot air balloon across a scenic panorama.
Jay Leno is the big draw – cars are another one. But the Boys & Girls Clubs is the biggest beneficiary. The event raised over $10 million in its 13th year of existence at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
Leno was present all weekend long – to meet guests, talk about cars, judge a car show and do a stand-up routine on Saturday night. As one of the greatest late-night talk show hosts (now doing a show called Jay Leno’s Garage) Leno adds an encyclopedic yet humble expertise on cars and a funny take on the way of the world.
The 3-day event kicked-off with a Live Hangar Party at Atlantic Aviation at the Boca Raton Airport with Leno and Indy 500 Champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Restaurants like Abe & Louie’s; BGCBC Culinary; Bloomers Forse: Café Med; Crazy Uncle Mike’s; Enerbee; MEAT Eatery Boca; Oceans 234; Ouzo Bay and Tanzy brought out their best and brightest finger foods like Greek Spinach pies, oysters, baked chicken wings, salmon and host of others.
The most luxurious (yet not the most expensive) was the new Rolls Royce SUV with white interior, extensive body and the softest leather you ever sat in before. The price was well under half a million, which made it a bargain compared to the $3.5 million Bugatti Chiron. Behind ropes this car was not ours for the romping (like the Rolls SUV) but we did hear it has 1,500 horsepower.
There were also private jets and liquor in colorful hues to go with outdoor food stands dispersed throughout the crowd. People lined up to sit in a private jet or deluxe motor home yet most of us stood around just gazing.
Saturday evening was the Grand Gala Dinner, Live and silent Auction and a live show by Leno. Guests walked around the cavernous grounds of the Boca Resort Banquet area and left bids on jewelry, spas, vacations and artwork. The dinner was wonderful, and Leno never fails to entertain with his hilarious takes on the mundane of our existence.
“I went to the Apple store last week to get a $6 charger for my cell phone. The salesman asked what kind of phone I currently had, and I said a 7S. He told me, ‘you should upgrade to our 10th anniversary iPhone, it only costs $1,000.’ Are you kidding, said Leno? “I didn’t spend that much on my 10th anniversary – I had a Sizzler and a Hallmark Card.”
Leno made us laugh until we cried – but he also helped raise money by auctioning off $500 guest visits to Jay Leno’s Garage. He kept asking guests until he sold 10 of the visits to his huge garage in LA that is legendary for its vast selection of antique cars.
Bob Fisher was one of the eager guests at the event who was wowed by the crowd and the generosity of patrons. “I had a fabulous evening. Jay Leno keeps getting better (like a good wine) and The Boca Resort & Club had a marvelous reception and dinner. The big excitement was the support the Boys and Girls Club received. It feels so satisfying to see our community get behind a truly worthwhile cause. Adorable young people met us at the door and circulated among the guests. There’s no doubt, children are our future and giving them our support now will be rewarded.”
Sunday was an exhibit of antique and unusual cars from our grandfather’s day. Leno walked through the show field meeting automobile and motorcycle owners and attendees. He always enjoys searching for his favorite automobile and motorcycle to present the Jay Leno “Big Dog Garage Award.”
The “Best of Show Award” was given to a 1937 Bugatti 57S Coupe owned by Richard Workman from Florida and the Founder Award was given to a 1933 Isotta FraschIni Tipo 8A, a 2-door Sports Tourer.
When it comes to cars – it’s Leno who adores and worships them the most. When asked why he loves cars, he added, “They go fast, they’re attractive, expensive and complicated – just like being married.”