Story and Photos by Pat Krause
INDIO – The 25th Annual Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational was held at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Thursday, Feb. 21 to Saturday, Feb. 23 at the award-winning Eagle Falls Golf Course. The two-day golf tournament is fondly referred to as “Frank’s Little Party in the Desert” and was started by Frank and Barbara Sinatra 25 years ago to raise funds for the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center in Rancho Mirage. The Starkey Hearing Foundation was the presenting sponsor.
Highlights of the event included the Thursday night Pairings Party with a silent and live auction, buffet and entertainment. Comedian Gary Mule Deer put on a hilarious show, along with Comedian Tom Dreesen who emceed again, as he has for the past 25 years. Co-host was Ken Venturi along with Barbara Sinatra.
Friday night was another night of silent and live auctions to raise money for the Children’s Center and guests get a chance to bid on some exceptional products. A buffet of Frank Sinatra’s favorite foods was served and entertainment was provided by singer Frankie Randall, daughter of Dean Martin, singer Deana Martin, sang several of her Dad’s favorite songs, and NFL Star, Vince Ferragamo entertained with his guitar while Comedian Norm Crosby had the audience laughing with his jokes.
There is always something special for the ladies. A style show with designs by the fabulous designer Fe Zandi at a luncheon was held on Friday. While the men played golf, the ladies had an opportunity by buy jewelry, purses and furs from vendors.
Saturday night was the big black tie gala. Awards were given to the golfers; other awards were handed out to several people for all their dedication to the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational. The entertainment was provided by Frankie Valli and his orchestra.
There were more than 35 celebrities participating from sports, movies and TV, including Joe Montegna, Pat Boone, Elke Sommer, Steve Garvey, Marcus Allen, Kevin Sorbo, Rollie Fingers, William Devane and Robert Wagner.