Just as we thought glittering gala dinners have officially gone the way of the dodo due to COVID-19, the team behind the legendary Saigon Summer Ball has surprised us with the announcement that the 2020 edition is a go, albeit in a new format.
The mainstay of the city’s social calendar since 2009, Saigon Summer Ball has throughout the years raised over US $1,5 million for Saigon Children's Charity – a charity improving the lives of thousands of disadvantaged kids and their families across Vietnam.
The 2020 ball will be like nothing Saigon society has seen before. To begin with, the ballroom is conspicuous by its absence. Or rather the ballroom can be whatever venue the guests choose to bedeck with disco balls, as long as the internet signal is strong – as the summer ball is going digital.
And while the 2020 edition relies on cutting-edge technology to beam pre-recorded entertainment, a raffle draw and live auction into the living rooms, the culinary part is all about good old craftsmanship.
The organizers are bringing together Saigon’s top chefs to create five set menus exclusively for the event. Representing some of the city’s most exciting dining venues, the culinary stars are Peter Cuong Franklin of Anan Saigon, Heath Gordon from the Park Hyatt Saigon, Julien Perraudin from Quince Eatery, Sakal Phoeung from P’Ti Saigon and Frederic Thevenet from Le Jardin des Sens.
On the night of 12 September 2020, the luxury dining experience – a gourmet meal, a surprise cocktail courtesy of Sông Cái gin and login details to join the online event – will be delivered to apartments, villas and inboxes. Those residing outside of Saigon can still be there in spirit by joining online bidding, tuning in to enjoy pre-recorded entertainment or buying raffle tickets for a chance to win exciting prizes.
By dispatching Saigon Summer Ball hampers to hundreds of addresses across the city, the event gives the charity’s donors and supporters an opportunity to come together for a good cause while practicing social distancing and doing their part to contain the outbreak.
This year, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Damien Roberts, Executive Director of Saigon Children’s Charity saw an opportunity to try something new. “Canceling Saigon Summer Ball this year wasn’t an option. In fact, we need it now more than ever to ensure the wellbeing of our children and the stability of the organization,” he admits.
Disadvantaged children, already some of the most vulnerable members of the community, are suffering greatly during COVID-19. One of the direct consequences of the rising unemployment is that thousands of school-aged children are removed from the classrooms due to the financial difficulties their families are facing.
Guests taking part in the event will be directly contributing to supporting the children in risk of dropping out of school because of COVID-19.