SMRC’s Chocolate Lovers’ Fling, 2 /11/17

SMRC’s Chocolate Lovers’ Fling, 2 /11/17

The 22nd annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fling, a fun-raiser for the San Miguel Resource Center and one of the best parties of the winter season in the Telluride region. The bash features chocolate treats by local chefs, a silent auction, music, dancing, and cash prizes for the Best Dressed. (Hint: green, gold, and purple are the official colors of Mardi Gras, the 2017 event theme.) The Fling takes place at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village on Saturday, February 11, 2017, 7:30 p.m. The goal is to raise funds to help stamp out interpersonal violence in the Telluride region. Tickets in advance, $55, ($60 at the door), available at Two Skirts in Telluride and online here. VIP tickets, $150, include private bar, lounge, and more.


Deb Madaris of Fascinating Fascinators created some spectacular accessories specifically for the Fling. She has accessories for the men as well as for the ladies. Deb is a huge supporter of our community and the Resource Center and the staff there says they love working with her. The Resource Center’s executive director Mandy Miller admits to having a jones for Deb’s Fascinators. Find Deb’s Fascinators at the Fling to, ahem, top off your outfit.



A popular theory holds that the origins of Mardi Gras (translation from the French,”Fat Tuesday”) lie in ancient pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, such as Saturnalia and Lupercalia. Others contend, however, that Mardi Gras-type festivities popped up solely as a result of the Catholic Church’s thumbs down on sex and meat during Lent. Church reformers may have helped to propagate the pagan rumors, some historians say, in the hope of dissuading pre-Lenten hedonism.

In either case, hedonism won the day.

Also known as Carnival, Mardi Gras is a raucous celebration in many countries around the world on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice, New Orleans – and now Telluride – play host to to holiday festivities, both infamous and charming.

At Telluride Arts’ Gallery 81435, the magic realism of New Orleans-based “Outsider” artist Chris Robert-Antieau is on display throughout the month. Antieau’s colorful, whimsical, often humorous, always engaging fabric art celebrates love and joy, lighting up the Telluride Arts District during the Mardi Gras season.

And uptown in Mountain Village at the Telluride Conference Center, Mardi Gras is the theme of the San Miguel Resource Center’s 22nd annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fling.

The Fling is sure to be an all-out bash, thanks to event planner and chair Sutton Schuler Errico, and the nonprofit’s biggest public fundraiser. The event features some of  the region’s best professional chefs from venues as diverse as Rustico/La Piazza/La Pizzeria, Alpinist & The Goat, Baked in Telluride, Altezza at The Peaks, The View Bar & Grill at Mountain Lodge, Telski’s Bon Vivant, Mancos House on Riverside, and more, all competing to create the most decadent chocolate dessert fantasies. There are also prizes for Amateur Chocolate and Best Dressed, a silent auction, a popular wine toss, a 50/50 cash raffle and dancing to sounds of  Soul Atomic.

In addition to celebrating Mardi Gras, The Fling is also the warm-up to Valentine’s Day, the High Holy for lovers. How are the two events linked? Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating healthy relationships. Eliminating abusive relationships and promoting healthy relationships are the twin goals of the Resource Center.

It doesn’t matter where.

It doesn’t matter who.

Sexual assault and domestic violence ignore cultural boundaries, race, place, even gender. Fact is those twin horrors are equal opportunity offenders. And it turns out intimate partner violence is the most common form of abuse in women’s lives – much more than assault or rape by strangers or even acquaintances. So women – and yes, victims are most often women, not men, and children too – are more at risk at home than on the streets.

Interpersonal violence is a global plague  – read many of Nick Kristof’s Op Eds in The New York Times. He is one among many outstanding journalists who consistently rails against such horrors all over the world – but abuse is not acceptable anywhere.

Certainly not in the Telluride region.

In fact, the goal of the San Miguel Resource Center is to become so effective in our neck of the woods, its services will no longer be needed.

The Resource Center defines abuse as anything from a vague feeling something is wrong to battering and worse – much worse. Now celebrating 23 years of community service, it is the Telluride region’s only nonprofit dealing with interpersonal violence, which it hopes to eliminate through crisis intervention, education, and social change.

Proceeds from the Fling, which, with all its moving parts, demands hundred of man hours to cobble together, represent a big chunk of the Resource Center’s annual budget. Funds raised at the party, one of the biggest and bestest bashes of the winter season, are particularly important because they are unrestricted.

Unrestricted funds – as opposed to restricted funds through grants from government entities, which all come with strings – allow the nonprofit to meet the ever-changing needs involved in crisis response.

Because of funds from the Fling, The Resource Center is able to offer such programs as support groups for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Discretionary funds clearly help the nonprofit provide better ongoing healing and empowerment opportunities for its clients.

“As the San Miguel Resource Center enters its 24th year, it has to be said we could not do the work we do without generous support of our community. One of the ways we are able to sustain our programming and expand our services to meet the needs of our clients is by diversifying our fundraising initiatives. While it is true we are fortunate to receive government funding, those dollars fluctuate each year and are very restrictive as to the ways we can spend the money. Funds received from our community at events like the Fling are unrestricted, meaning we can use them to meet very specific needs and evolve innovative initiatives. This year, for example, we are looking forward to expanding our Cultural Outreach and pre-K through 12th-grade, school-based prevention education programs. Again, we could not do this without the support of our amazingly committed community champions of the Resource Center,” explained executive director Mandy Miller.

More about the San Miguel Resource Center:

The Resource Center was called Tomboy House when it was first formed in 1993 by a group of locals, including Bev McTigue, Dr. Marshall Whiting, Dr. Susannah Smith, and Marsha Ewell. By 1994, Tomboy House had established a 24-hour helpline to support victims through crisis intervention and referrals. That year, the nonprofit served 28 clients. Last year that number was nearly 10x higher.

These days, in addition to crisis intervention and a hotline for Telluride, Norwood, Nucla/Naturita, the Resource Center provides a wide range of programs/services in English and in Spanish, including cultural outreach, advocacy to help clients with court and medical services, safe housing, preventative community education, and awareness initiatives.

Ways you can help:

Attend the Fling Saturday, February 11, 2017.

Volunteer. Become a certified advocate or simply help with the many events that take place throughout the year such as the Fling. Learn about domestic violence and sexual assault. Education is the key to dispelling myths, ending the blaming of victims and preventing future violence.

Visit here learn more about how you can help and to buy tickets to the Chocolate Lovers’ Fling.

More about Fling chair, event planner and San Miguel Resource Center board member Sutton Schuler Errico:


A fifth-generation Telluride local ( and volunteer firefighter), about one year ago, Sutton launched her namesake brand, “by Sutton,” a luxury event and lifestyle production consultancy that focus on authentic, heirloom-worthy moments in the Telluride region. With Telluride experiencing a wedding boom, a large part of her work revolves around helping clients tie the knot. Sutton’s community-minded projects, include the recent 20th Anniversary Celebration of the “G’ (or Gondola). This is Sutton’s first year chairing the Fling.

Many locals – and lots of visiting guests – know Sutton as one of the beautiful women who work at Kristin Holbrooks’s Two Skirts.

“As Two Skirts gets ready to celebrate its 16th birthday, I am happy to say that I have been there for nearly 15 of those stylish years.  From window shopping at the original Oak Street location as a tween, to eventually working throughout high school and college breaks, I am thankful for the friendship with the community-minded ladies that work at the store and grateful for owner Kristin Holbrook’s guidance and support. Kristin is also a long-time supporter of the Resource Center.”

Sutton’s history with the San Miguel Resource Center dates back to her childhood:

“The Resource Center has been in my life as long as I can remember. My earliest memories were the nights my mother would be on-call as an advocate and hearing the Resource Center-issued cell phone ring knowing she was at times the lifeline for someone in our community in desperate need. As a child living in the snow globe we call home, it was hard at times to imagine that these sorts of injustices were taking place in our backyard. It was many years later, while president of my sorority at Colorado State, I too became a sounding board and advocate for a sister who was sexually assaulted by a person she believed to be a friend. At that moment, my appreciation and respect for the work of the SMRC, and of my mother, was truly validated. I then realized that no matter where you live or who you are, we are all vulnerable and one day might need the help and support of organizations like the the Resource Center. My involvement as a board member was sparked after returning to Telluride in 2013. Mentors and friends, such as Kristin Holbrook and Cynthia Sommers, both past board presidents and active champions for the cause, encouraged me to join. I took their advice and joined in 2015. And I continue to be inspired my the work of this wonderful organization.”

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