By Wicker Van Orsdel
The Make-A-Wish Foundation welcomed more than 500 supporters into the Land of OZ May 6 for its 18th annual Iowa Gala. The Prairie Meadows ballroom was transformed into the Emerald City, complete with Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, the Yellow Brick Road, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, wicked witches (no flying monkeys, though) and of course…(thunder clap!) The Wizard, played by Steve Berry, who also served as our hilarious emcee for the evening. (Loved the hat, Steve.) Bella Floral did the table designs (I’m talkin’ lots of green) and painted a huge mural stage drop of the Emerald City that was trés impressive…I didn’t think we were in Kansas, or Iowa, anymore.
Guests entered and followed a Yellow-Bricked-Road, lined with lollipops, to end up in the land of the silent auction. The committee was very inspired and prolific in the vast array of items offered–everything from mink coats to beach trips to concert tickets. The Canary Chevrolet Camaro SS donated by Premier Chevy Dealers was the centerpiece raffle item. (You could never be incognito in that ride!)
I opened the evening with the befitting “Make a Wish” and then shivered my way through dinner in my red strapless dress. The chivalrous gentleman, Frank Fogarty, came to the rescue, and loaned me his suit jacket so I could make my teeth stop chattering. Dinner, I might add, was surprisingly delicious chicken roulade?…no rubber taste at all. (I was only going to nibble, but joined the clean-plate-club.) Gigantic Oz-themed cakes and desserts were donated from bakeries from all around Des Moines, and they were deeevoured. (Let them eat cake!)
The evening honored the ubiquitous Hy-Vee for their generosity and then featured the Hamilton and Lopez “Wish Families” with the emotional vignettes of the happy moments that Make-A-Wish made possible for their children. The live auction had lots…many…loads of great items and eye-rolling-is-this ever-going-to-end moments. They saved the best for last, of course! The adorable little Yorkie puppy that Dorothy was carrying about all night went for $2,500! The audience was amazing in its generosity.
Steve Berry performed and rewrote the words to the tune of ‘If I Only Had a Brain” (think Scarecrow) and then little Wish recipient Vinnie Lopez pulled the winning raffle ticket for the Camaro! Alas…winner Josh Jackman was not present. Lucky for him the “need not be present to win” caveat was in force. He is going to have a cow, I mean a Camaro! I closed the show with–act surprised–“Over the Rainbow”!
The ever-present dynamic duo, Loretta Sieman and Pat Schneider. were instrumental in the event’s success as were so many other volunteers and donors who contributed their time, merchandise and dollars to grant wishes and make dreams come true. This is indeed the mission statement of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa….to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It was a night of joy and generosity!
Check out the photos below, and for more photos, to go to: http://smilebox.com/playBlog/4d6a51334d6a51304f44513d0d0a&blogview=true