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Column: Gala to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities
by Sally F. White
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
October 02, 2013 02:49 PM | 4285 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
The Hearts and Hands Gala, set for Saturday at the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta, will mark five years of successful fundraising for the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.

WSB-TV meteorologist David Chandley will host the evening featuring a seated dinner, live and silent auctions and a performance by Broadway and TV star Megan Hilty in the aquarium’s picturesque Oceans Ballroom.

A special tribute will honor the life and legacy of Linda Morris, president and CEO of Atlanta’s Ronald McDonald House Charities, who died in April.

“The Hearts and Hands Gala has grown to be one of the premiere events in Atlanta and is crucial in raising annual operating funds for this great charity,” said event Chairman Javier Goizueta, vice president of the Coca-Cola Co. and president of the McDonald’s division. “The ongoing support, sponsorship and volunteerism continue to grow and truly make a difference with sick children and their families.”

Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent is serving as the honorary chairman.

Atlanta’s two nonprofit Ronald McDonald Houses, located on Gatewood Road in DeKalb County and on Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs, are expected to provide temporary housing and support services with the comforts of home to nearly 2,000 families of ill and injured children this year. Nutritious meals are prepared and served by volunteers while emotional support is offered through contact with other families experiencing similar situations.

No family is turned away if it cannot afford the modest $20 contribution. Many families stay for weeks, even months, while their children receive much-needed medical treatment.

The origin and inspiration for the nonprofit housing facilities as a global network of chapters in 52 countries came from McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc to support programs directly improving the health and well-being of children. Core programs are: the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

Tickets and information: (678) 704-8086 or

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Since 2007 the Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta Reward Fund has achieved amazing results helping the police departments make Atlanta a safer city.

Saturday, everyone is invited to the third annual Blue Jean Ball at the historic Cook estate on Randall Mill Road in Buckhead to raise money to provide ongoing cash incentives for anonymous information that helps Atlanta law enforcement solve crimes.

Sporting the best denim fashions, guests will enjoy a fun night with friends and neighbors as they dance to live swinging retro music by Bogey & the Viceroy and relish a buffet-style dinner provided by LowCountry Barbecue.

Dedicated supporters Ellen Dracos Lemming and her husband, Jeff Lemming, are serving as honorary co-chairs for this year’s fundraiser.

The ball benefits the nonprofit Atlanta Police Foundation, administrator of the Crime Stoppers’ cash rewards. There is no other law enforcement tool that has furnished such a direct link to crime prevention, nor a philanthropic entity with such a direct effect on its cause.

Last year’s ball raised more than $65,000, which enabled police to take 32 dangerous predators off Atlanta streets and prevented more than 416 additional crimes from ever being committed.

Tickets and information: (404) 586-0180 or

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For 25 years the Latin American Association has supported the Latino immigrants in the metro area. This year’s fundraising Latin Fever Ball Saturday at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead celebrates the silver anniversary with a glamorous walk through the past.

The elegant black-tie dinner featuring Latin cuisine and a live Latin orchestra will include a silent auction to benefit the life-changing programs and services offered by the association.

Co-chairing the evening are Barbarella Diaz and Gigi Pedraza with the support of dedicated guild members: Karla Arriola, Lois Beserra, Del H. Clark, Enrique Dorta, Ricki Fairley, Aida Flamm, Teresa Torres, Augusto Michael Trujillo, Gina Trujillo, Ralph Trujillo, Annie York Trujillo, Patty Webb and Angelica Young.

The honorary co-chairs are Jan and Frank Ros.    

The association is the largest nonprofit social and legal immigration services available to the Latin community in metro Atlanta, with the mission to empower Latinos to achieve their educational, social and economic aspirations.

Funds from the annual benefit make a significant impact in the lives of Latinos throughout Georgia by funding programs that promote youth academic achievement, offer affordable legal immigration assistance and serve families facing urgent need.

Tickets and information: (404) 638-1823 or

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A Timeless Affair, the signature benefit for the Fernbank Museum of Natural History on Clifton Road in DeKalb County, will take an adventurous “Marco Polo’s Venetian Masquerade” theme Saturday.

The drama of the masked ball begins with a sunset cocktail hour. Add dramatic décor and a seated Venetian Feast dinner, dancing, live music by Livin’ Large and a private viewing of the major cultural exhibit “Marco Polo: Man & Myth.” Also, guests will enjoy a full enchanting evening along with extra fundraising possibilities at live and silent auctions.

The affair will mark the museum’s 21st anniversary and honor Carter and Hampton Morris as dedicated supporters.

Drawing inspiration from the historic explorer Marco Polo’s adventures along the Silk Road, the evening will spotlight an on-loan collection of more than 80 rare objects from museums and private collections throughout Italy. The exhibition reveals the many cultural influences and customs he observed along the Silk Route and sheds light on his encounters inside the Mongol empire.

All proceeds will help the nonprofit museum further its educational mission through exceptional special exhibitions, critically acclaimed IMAX films and innovation cultural and science-enhancement programs for all ages that encourage an appreciation for the planet and its inhabitants.

Tickets and information: (404) 929-6376 or

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The inaugural Brookhaven Roots-N-Brews music and food festival Saturday at Brookhaven Park on Peachtree Road is being hosted by the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce, partnering with the city of Brookhaven Office of Tourism.

Planned for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the outdoor festival will encourage camaraderie as it spotlights live “root” music from across the Southeast — blues, bluegrass, funk and rock — and features fare from local restaurants and food trucks.

Music headliners are the Grammy Award-nominated and Athens native Caroline Aiken with other notable musicians such as Jennifer Daniels, The Roosevelts, Freddy’s Finest, Georgia Crackers and The Regulars Band.

The goal is to attract residents and visitors inside and outside the new city by showing off the beauty of greenspace and entertaining with music and refreshments.

Proceeds from the happening will benefit the nonprofit Brookhaven Chamber Foundation Inc., whose goal is to build a healthy community with safe, clean parks and to provide educational and wellness opportunities for the city’s residents.

Foundation programs include: promotion of health, exercise and wellness using public parks; preservation and restoration of greenspaces; sustainability through the creation of community gardens and innovative use of outdoor exercise venues.

The chamber depends on the support of individuals, businesses and the community to achieve high livability standards and a robust business population.

Tickets and information: 1-888-270-0686 or

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To spotlight the current “Barrique: Wine, Design, and Social Change” exhibition, the Museum of Design Atlanta on Peachtree Street in Midtown is collaborating with the National Italian American Foundation, Pirelli and Landmark Fiat of Atlanta for a Festa Italiana cocktail party Saturday.

The all-inclusive event will offer guests a tour of the exhibit along with an evening of Italian culture in a café setting on the piazza. A sampling of Italian fare and wines will be accompanied by traditional Italian accordion music from Don Discenza.

An honorary host committee includes distinguished Atlanta-connected Italians: Angela della Costanza Turner, Italian honorary consul general; Leo Pieri, director of the National Italian American Foundation for Georgia; Max Salmi, marketing operations manager at SCM Group North America; Jim Budd, chairman of Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial Design; and Krystina Madej, visiting assistant professor with the School of Literature, Communications and Culture at Georgia Tech.

The exhibition is part of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2013 Year of Italian Culture in the U.S., and focuses on a wine barrel recycling project at Europe’s largest residential treatment center for young men and women recovering from drug addiction and social exclusion, located in San Patrignano, Italy. Patients are trained for professional skills including viticulture, wine making and woodworking.

Since discovering that oak barrels can only be used for three years for wine making, inspired designers have created a series of one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture from the reincarnated wood. The innovative new-lease-on-life furniture project is now on tour in America. Pieces will be auctioned at the completion of the tour to raise funds for the San Patrignano nonprofit program.

The museum opened its new home in Midtown in March 2011 and is the only one in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design.

The exhibit will end Oct. 13.

Tickets and information: (404) 979-6455 or

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The Vintage Affair will mark 11 years for the annual social event featuring great food and camaraderie as Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church partners with the Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs to help its neighbors.

Set for Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m., the benefit features great food samplings and wine tastings from 16 local restaurants, live music by Tail Feathers and The Prime Suspects and live and silent auctions in the new Ventulett Gallery event space at the church on Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs.

More than 30 local couples and individuals are serving on the host committee for this year’s Vintage Affair, themed “Celebration of Hope.” Shelly Dozier-McKee is serving as the 2013 chairwoman.

Because the majority of the food, beverages and auction items are donated, most every dollar raised at the event goes to the nonprofit, volunteer-based center’s efforts to prevent homeless, meet basic needs and promote self-reliance for Sandy Springs and Dunwoody residents in need.

The center provides food, clothing, emergency financial assistance and education to local residents facing unexpected crisis.

Since 1987, 30 congregations of all faiths, public and private grants, civic organizations, schools, businesses and individuals in the communities have joined forces to sustain the center’s programs.

Tickets and information: (770) 316-7260 or

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Flux Night, a free one-night public art celebration produced by Flux Projects, will take place Saturday in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill arts district.

Flux Projects is a unique local nonprofit creating temporary public art as a family friendly celebration to fill empty street spaces and awaken creative talent. It does so by building on unexpected juxtaposition and free association beyond visual and performing arts to ignite cultural senses and experiences.

The free-spirited public event is planned to draw art enthusiasts to the streets of Castleberry Hill from 7 p.m. to midnight. British-born Helena Reckitt, Flux Night’s first guest curator, hopes to shake things up a bit in Atlanta. Senior lecturer at London’s esteemed Goldsmiths art school, Reckitt has also been a curator at successful Toronto outdoor dusk-till-dawn public art happenings.

In addition to a selection of local artists, there will be an Open Music Archive with four Atlanta emcees; artist Pablo Bronstein’s project the Atlanta Ballet Fellowship Ensemble, plus 14 commissioned open-call artists including: The CORE Dance Performance Company; Michi Meko who is creating a site-specific sound installation; and Fahamu Pecou and Micah and Whitney Stansell are presenting large-scale projections.

What does Flux Night, a fleeting moment on the arts calendar, do for Atlanta?

“It brings excitement,” Reckitt said. “Atlanta has a lot of art-eager young people who do not go to galleries. They are looking for pleasure and energy in creative art of all forms.”

Adding to the public-friendly plans, the Castleberry Hill location is convenient to the Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center/Philips Arena MARTA station, and shuttles will be scheduled from the southeast corner of Centennial Olympic Park. There will even be a handy bike valet at the Granite Room on Peters Street.

The nonprofit Flux Projects produces exceptional temporary public art and is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the city of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs; the Fulton County Arts Council under the guidance of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners; businesses and individuals.

Information: (404) 245-5853 or

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The On the Rocks benefit Sunday at the Bellwood Quarry in northwest Atlanta will showcase one of the most important proposed urban parks in the Southeastern U.S., the future Westside Reservoir Park.

The evening is being hosted by the Trust for Public Land. The planned park is part of the 22-mile Atlanta Beltline rail route. The greenspace has the potential to be the largest in park in the city of Atlanta, and the quarry itself could be transformed into a reservoir that can hold up to a 30-day supply of drinking water.

Funds from the event, which includes a unique silent auction featuring on-the-land experiences such as river kayaking and camping, will go to the trust’s conservation projects.

For a quick history: The city of Atlanta purchased the quarry in 2006. It had been in operation for more than 100 years. In December 2006 the trust preserved a 10-acre plot at the quarry entrance.

On the Rocks will honor Curley Dossman, chairman of the Georgia Pacific Foundation, as this year’s Conservation Champion. Since 1959, the nonprofit foundation has partnered with thousands of community-based programs to protect the environment and bring value to land where employees live and work.

Georgia Schley Ritchie and Diff Ritchie are serving as co-chairs for the fundraiser with help from dedicated committee members Boyce Ansley, Virginia Almand, Mose Bond, Libby Prickett, Caroline and Boyd Leake, Colie Neidlinger, Sarah Kirsch and Tyler Gardner.

Founded in 1972, the trust is the leading nonprofit conserving land for people. Operating more than 30 offices nationwide, it has protected some 3 million acres from inner cities to wildernesses and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation.

In the Atlanta area, the trust has conserved 75 miles of Chattahoochee River frontage to protect safe drinking water and provide places for people to hike, bike, fish and jog. The trust has acquired dozens of properties to partner with the Beltline preservation.

Tickets and information: (404) 873-7306 ext. 221 or

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Fall is in the air and everyone is invited to enjoy Sunday in the Park Victorian street festival Sunday at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta’s Grant Park community. Set for from noon to 6 p.m., the family outing at the historic cemetery on Oakland Avenue will offer fun, food and entertainment for all ages.

A variety of entertainment will greet guests: live music, an open-air artist market, living history demonstrations, storytellers, Irish dancers, a Teddy bear tea for little ones in the children’s area and much more. Six Feet Under, The Varsity, and Pallookaville will be serving a variety of food.

Free mini-guided tours will be available. Volunteer guides will show highlights of the gravesites and the magnificent mausoleums. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the Victorian costume and photography contests.

Founded in 1976, the volunteer-based nonprofit Historic Oakland Foundation partners with the city of Atlanta to preserve, restore, enhance and share the cemetery with the public as an important cultural resource and an island of tranquility in the heart of the urban city.

Proceeds from the 2013 Sunday event ($5 per-person donation at the gate; children under 3 are admitted free) will support the foundation’s work. Oakland is open to the public 365 days a year.

Information: (404) 688-2107, ext. 15 or

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Five inductees into the 2013 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame will be honored Tuesday at a dinner ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead.

 “For the third year we are honoring trailblazing journalists whose careers represent the highest standards of journalistic integrity and ethics. They are the best among us whose courage and talents have made journalism and our communities better,” said Jon Shirek, of WXIA-TV and chairman of the club’s Hall of Fame committee. “Many have overcome obstacles to pursue and find the truth that the public needs to know.”

This year’s list includes: Ed Baker, longtime publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle and strategic officer of American City Business Journals; Margaret Mitchell (1900-49), Pulitzer Prize-winning author and reporter for the Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine; Monica Pearson, the first African-American woman news anchor in Atlanta, with an Emmy Award-winning career at WSB-TV; Dale Russell, senior investigative reporter for Fox 5 Atlanta; and Bill Shipp, legendary Georgia journalist and political commentator.

Sixteen outstanding Atlanta journalists have been inducted into the hall since its inception in 2011. Proceeds from the event will go to college scholarships and internships to help the next generation of journalists succeed and keep the high standards of journalism represented by the honorees.

The nonprofit club is one of the largest and most dynamic professional journalism associations in the country. Membership encompasses Atlanta’s burgeoning media community: local and national, from print, broadcast and online to professors, students, public relations professionals and retirees.

The mission is to serve the professional and social needs of Atlanta’s journalism community and to foster journalistic excellence to advance the public’s interest in and understanding of a free press.

Tickets and information: (404) 577-7377 or

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Civil War scholars and aficionados are invited to join members of the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta to meet Lance Herdegen, Civil War authority and author, for a review of his latest book, “The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory: The Black Hats from Bull Run to Appomattox and Thereafter,” the evening of Tuesday at the Capital City Club in downtown Atlanta.

Herdegen is the former director of the Institute for Civil War Studies at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., and presently chairs the Wisconsin Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. His latest book is the first full study of this famous Civil War brigade.

The nonprofit round table was organized in 1949 with the purpose to further serious discussion and study of the war. Dinner meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month except July and August. Special guest speakers share knowledge to enlighten members on the background, historic facts and significance of the war. Art Carey is the current president.

Tickets and information: (770) 473-1390 or

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