Ruby Dance supports a green mission

Drinking champagne and dining on slow-roasted prime rib has never been as good for the environment in Federal Way as it will be on Sept. 22.

The third annual Ruby Dance fundraiser, hosted by the Friends of the Hylebos, aims to raise money for preservation of open space and restoration of habitat in the West Hylebos Wetlands and around the Hylebos Creek.

“If you like green trees and beautiful forests and natural areas as part of the community, this is a great way to support that effort,” said Chris Carrel, executive director of Friends of the Hylebos.

Event organizers hope to raise more than $30,000 this year, Carrel said. Last year, the event brought in $20,000.

“This year we’re being a little bit bolder and saying let’s raise $30,000,” Carrel said.

The event is the only large organized fundraiser that the Friends of the Hylebos holds. It was named the Ruby Dance by Adele Freeland, a Hylebos volunteer. The event, in late September, coincides with the spawning season of the native Coho salmon. When the males are spawning, they turn a reddish color. Freeland dubbed it the salmon’s “ruby dance” and the event was named in recognition of the season.

Despite the name, there is unlikely to be dancing at the fundraiser, Carrel said. Although “if people really want to dance, we will let them.”

The event will feature dinner, complimentary wine and champagne, a silent auction and a raffle.

Dr. Elliott Norse, a marine conservationist from Redmond, will be the keynote speaker. Norse has worked on policy for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. He is partially responsible for the largest environmental achievement of the Bush Administration, Carrel said.

“He’s a fabulously entertaining speaker as well,” Carrel said.

Scores of local businesses donated items for the silent auction including a $1,000 pearl necklace from Jeffrey’s Jewelers, a private at-home dinner from the chefs at Metropolitan Market, a lasik procedure from Evergreen Eye Center, a weekend at the Big Sky Mountain Condo, two nights at the Holly Hill House Bed and Breakfast, an overnight camping package from Islandwood, a backyard native planting consultation from Friends of the Hylebos Restoration Coordinator Hillary Kleeb, fly fishing lessons and several hand-crafted items.

“It’s quite a lot of fun,” Carrel said of the Ruby Dance. “It’s the event to go to this fall.”

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

Check it out:

The Friends of the Hylebos will host its third annual Ruby Dance fundraiser from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, 650 SW Campus Drive in Federal Way.

The event will feature a silent auction, complimentary champagne, a presentation and awards. Dinner choices include slow-roasted prime rib, chicken breast or vegetarian eggplant parmesan.

Dinner will cost $60 per person. The registration deadline is Sept. 7, although late registration may be accepted if space is available. Volunteers to staff the event and items for the silent auction are still being sought. For more information, call (253) 874-2005.

The Friends of the Hylebos thanks all of their business sponsors, including Weyerhaeuser, Marlene’s Market and Deli, Down & Out Demolition, Democon, Evergreen Eye Center, HomeStreet Bank, Kennedy/Jenks, Woodstone Credit Union, Seattle-King County Realtors Association, Washington Realtors Association, the Port of Tacoma, Mike Dunbar Financial Planning, Red Canoe Credit Union, CH2M Hill and Tacoma Hydraulic and Machine.

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