Dan Fields dreams up a federation gala to delight and connect Portlanders

Normally Dan Fields spends his days dreaming up ways to get visitors swept up in the world of Disney. But this month, he has turned his attention to engaging people in the wonderful world of Jewish Portland.

Now the executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, the Portland native is returning to his hometown to create “A Night of Roaring Good Times” for the
Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s annual campaign gala. The night of drinking, dancing and misbehaving 1920s style begins at 7:30 pm, Oct. 25, at Pure Space, 1315 NW Overton St., Portland.

“We’re throwing a party that lets the guest travel back in time to the era when federation was founded, but the event will have a distinctly contemporary twist to it,” says Fields. “We hope people will come dressed to the nines, get immersed in the fun, and really enjoy supporting this vital and forward-thinking organization.”

At Disney, Fields does more than simply show guests a good time. He has to make sure they connect to the world of Disney on a very deep level. In an article in the Pennsylvania Gazette (the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, Field’s alma mater), Fields spoke of the Disney events he creates: “Because how much the guests love their experience has to do with how often they will come back and what level of commitment they will bring back … and more importantly, how deeply they feel connected, and I truly mean this, to our stories and to our characters and how they relate them to their own lives, and how they transmit that to their children.”

He plans to bring that same deep connection to those who attend the federation gala.

“If federation partygoers love this event, it may have an impact on what level of commitment they will make and perhaps even how deeply they feel connected to federation,” he says. “That’s putting entertainment to a good use!”

“Portland’s Jewish community is such a tight family, even as the city grows, so I’m delighted to have the chance to give back something to the community that encouraged me to define myself as a leader – and theatrical impresario!” says Fields.

A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Southwest Portland, he was the founder and first president of BBYO Chaim Weizmann AZA #360, which he founded along with Rich Meyer, Hal Jackson, Jon Caplan, Marc Albert and others. He went on to serve as international BBYO president the year he graduated from high school.

“Even though my immediate family now all lives in Los Angeles (parents Sandey and Del Fields, sister Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer), I have many cousins in Portland, and I have extensive ties to many of the families with whom we grew up. Even though I haven’t lived in Portland since 1983, I still proudly identify myself as ‘A third-generation Oregon Jew.’ ”

Fields says that originally he was asked to be the gala keynote speaker to connect creativity to doing good in the community. “But as we began talking about the event, we all felt a very theatrical party event would be a lot more fun than doing a PowerPoint slide show,” he says.

The resulting party will feature complimentary libations, heavy hors d’oeuvres, flapper dancing and more! Period attire is encouraged. Kosher dietary laws observed. Tickets ($65 per person before Oct. 13, $75 after) are available at jewishportland.org/gala.

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