Bruce and Barbara Browning are pictured at a previous Puttin' on the Ritz gala. [Photo courtesy of Jaylyn Hawks]


Dust off your tuxedos and evening gowns, Moab: It’s almost time to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style.

Seekhaven’s annual Puttin’ on the Ritz gala fundraiser is returning on Saturday, Feb. 14, offering local residents the rare chance to dress up in their finest – although more casual attire is welcome, too.

Advance tickets are now available for $50 per person at Seekhaven or Zions Bank, although they might not be around for much longer, according to Seekhaven Development/ Community Relations Director Jaylyn Hawks.

“Tickets are still available, but they’re going fast,” she said Feb. 2.

This year’s Puttin’ on the Ritz gala will be held at the Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West.

The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. that night, giving attendees a chance to socialize, nibble on exquisite appetizers and bid on a wide array of silent auction items. Throughout the evening, attendees can dine at their leisure from an assortment of savory selections.

When the silent auction closes at around 8:30 p.m., the successful bidders may take home their treasures. However, the Ritz won’t end with the silent auction: Local band Mill Creek Station will play on into the night for those who want to dance the night away.

The Ritz is designed to be a fun, engaging and high-end event for all attendees. It’s also a significant source of revenue for Seekhaven, which offers numerous services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Puttin’ on the Ritz is our only major fundraiser,” Seekhaven Executive Director Mike Gardner said. “The proceeds from the evening provide around 10 percent of the annual operating budget and help pay for the wide variety of services and programs Seekhaven offers to the community.”

According to Hawks, none of those proceeds will be diverted away from Seekhaven’s programs to pay for the gala celebration.

“Because of a very generous sponsor, every bit of that $50 goes back to Seekhaven – it’s not used to purchase food,” Hawks said.

This year’s Puttin’ on the Ritz gala coincides with Seekhaven’s 25th anniversary.

When it started a quarter century ago, Seekhaven Family Crisis and Resource Center offered emergency-only services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Since that time, Seekhaven has significantly expanded its services, thanks to strong community support and increased financial resources. In addition to providing safe shelter for women, children and men leaving abusive situations, Seekhaven outreach offices now offer many more services to people who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, yet do not stay in the shelter.

Seekhaven staff also provide a variety of educational presentations to area schools, community groups and businesses, using these opportunities to help individuals cultivate healthy, violence-free relationships.

Community support is critical to Seekhaven’s ability to keep its doors open over the last 25 years, Hawks said.

“We have a great collaborative community where cooperation and pooling of resources is used to maximize effectiveness and minimize duplication of services,” she said. “This is essential, since our rural, geographically isolated community lacks several important resources that more metropolitan areas have – huge population/ donor base, large corporate funding opportunities, many adjunct supportive services and agencies, a large volunteer base and significant political representation – to name just a few.”

For more information, call Jaylyn Hawks or Mike Gardner at 435-259-2229, or visit

Fundraising gala benefits Seekhaven

What: Seekhaven’s Puttin’ on the Ritz fundraiser

When: Saturday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.

Where: Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West

Cost: Tickets are $50 per person; discounted tickets for tables of eight are available for $375. The event will include a silent auction; cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted. Tickets can be purchased at Seekhaven or Zions Bank, 330 S. Main St.

Information: Call 435-259-2229, or visit