Under the stars White Party kicks off summer season

The Vero Beach Hotel and Spa ushered in the start of summer with an Underneath the Stars White Party at its Heaton’s Reef Bar & Grill – a nod to the style directive of only wearing white between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Where the fashion concept originated remains a mystery, although multiple theories abound, but whatever its roots, Floridians today rarely heed the outdated taboo anyway. After all, year-round moderate temperatures provide the impression of an endless summer, with barely a hint of muddied snow to ruin pristine pumps.

The crowd Saturday night at Vero’s little slice of paradise was decided unanimously that white attire is here to stay. Their bright white outfits dazzled brilliantly in the late afternoon sun against the colorful backdrop of an azure blue sea and sunset pink sky.

Women embraced the idea with cute white cotton sundresses, flowing white gauzy tops, cool white eyelets and crocheted outfits, and oodles of comfy white pants. Pops of color accompany their ensembles, emanating from vibrant accessories and multicolored chunky jewelry.

Men got into the spirit every bit as much as the women, donning Panama hats, guayabera shirts, white linen pants, white shoes and even white suspenders.

Vero’s congenial locals were out in full force, chatting excitedly about upcoming summertime trips and enjoying the more informal summer lifestyle, having waved goodbye to the snowbirds who once again migrated to points north. There’s no question that our fabulous northern residents infuse the town with energy and income, but regularly also relish the increased elbow room regained in restaurants, roadways and parking lots.

A lovely breeze blowing off the ocean gave a respite from the heat, as guests dined at numerous tables set up on the grassy area looking down to the beach and surrounding the poolside dance floor. Attentive to the needs of the ever-growing crowd, staff hustled to bring in additional tables and chairs, and continually raced in with replenishments to the generous barbeque buffet.

“We had such a great response the first year that we’re doing it every year,” said Matthew Thomas, General Manager, Cobalt Restaurant/Heaton’s Reef Bar & Grill, who was expecting between 250 to 300 people.

Get your grass skirts ready because he says they also plan to once again host a Labor Day luau, complete with fire dancers, to close out the summer.

As an eco-conscious resort, he says it has turtle-safe lighting to keep from disturbing any potential nesters; also. T-shirts were for sale with proceeds to benefit the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

“It’s one of the more relaxed parties I’ve been to in Vero Beach,” said Elke Brockway, enjoying the festivities with a tableful of friends, including visiting relatives from Berlin. “It’s just – come out, wear white and have fun!”