On Monday evening, the NamesCon community gathered at Tropicana Las Vegas' Havana Room for a night of delectable food, mesmerizing live music, and incredible entertainment courtesy of Comedian and Magician Justin Willman for the fifth WaterNight at NamesCon.
The format for WaterNight 2018 was different than the annual event's previous iterations. This year, guests were greeted with a red carpet as they got their photos taken before entering into the gorgeous Havana Room. A crystal chandelier hung over the venue as guests mixed and mingled during our cocktail hour underneath, while others took advantage of the photo booth.
As guests found their tables, live music filled the room—featuring an exceptionally charming cover of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Dinner was then served, and a delicious one at that. Mouthwatering osso buco, creamy mashed potatoes, and an array of refreshing salads lined the buffet tables (amongst many other dishes), making for a satisfying meal.
Justin Willman, who's appeared on Conan and Ellen, serves as the host of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, and is slated to have his own Netflix special, joined guests to do what he does best: dazzle while leaving the audience in stitches. We won't spoil too much of Willman's act, but one particular trick had the audience believe that Richard Lau would be left soaking wet after pouring water on himself. Lucky for Richard, Willman is a professional.
The live auction portion of WaterNight kicked off with the bass signed by NamesCon Opening Keynote Speaker, David Ellefson of Megadeth. After an exciting round of bids, one gentleman walked away with the guitar with the highest bid of $1,100.
Sharing a touching and personal story about her own life, Vanessa Lau (who runs the PR agency Fawkes + Holly that helps organize WaterNight) reminded guests as to what they were all there for: to support Water School and their efforts in bringing clean water as well as hygiene and sanitation training to families in rural Uganda.
Our goal for the evening was $50,000 in donations. In celebration of his sale of NamesCon last year, Richard Lau committed to personally match pledges and donations made at WaterNight. Thanks to your efforts, we managed to raise $34,852, which will be doubled to just under $70,000. Our sponsors have also committed $10,000.
To make our goal, we are hoping to raise another $10,148 in donations and pledges. This, too, will be matched by Richard, and will bring us to a total of $100,000 raised.
People can donate at the WaterSchool booth in the Exhibit Hall until noon on Wednesday, and Richard Lau will still honor the matching of pledges and donations. Pledge cards will also be available at the MMX Closing Party at Hakkasan tonight. Let’s make Richard Lau a poor man! He wants you to!
The NamesCon team would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all those who came out last night to support this wonderful cause. We hope everyone had an incredible time!