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Ronald McDonald House Holds ‘Wonderland’-Themed Gala in April

By Danny Hooley Posted February 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

For the second year, The Ronald McDonald House is holding a Storybook Gala in Chapel Hill, to benefit all the great work the organization does for North Carolina families.

This time, it’s the “Storybook Gala in Wonderland” at the Carolina Club on Saturday April 5, and it promises to be a wondrous event.

Guests will be served a spectacular three-course meal, and mingle with the likes of The Red Queen, The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, and of course, Alice.

UNC football Head Coach Larry Fedora will also be there.

“Last year was our inaugural Storybook Gala event,” says Elizabeth Hullender, Director of Special Events and Marketing for The Ronald McDonald House. “And every year, the concept is, we will pick a different storybook to base the ‘gala’ theme on.

“Last year’s was ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and this year, we chose ‘Alice in Wonderland.’”

There’s a wealth of material that comes out of Lewis Carroll’s classic – giant mushrooms, Mad hatters, and tea parties, just for a start.

There’ll be some special lighting to help transform The Carolina Club into Wonderland, and artists from Playmakers have volunteered to make it all come to life.

All this food and entertainment is to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. The event runs from 6 until 11 p.m.

“Guests will be greeted by Alice herself,” says Hullender, “and will walk down a black-and-white checkerboard into a ballroom, where they will enjoy cocktail hour and passed hors’ douvres for the first hour-and-a-half.”

Dinner will be served at 7:30. That will be followed by a presentation of upcoming plans for Chapel Hill’s Ronald McDonald House in the near future.

“We’re breaking ground on April 22nd on a 24,000-square-foot expansion,” says Hullender. “We’re going to be doubling in size.”

Currently, the house serves 2,200 families a year, but has to turn away 800. Hullender says she’s hopeful that won’t be the case once expansion is completed.

After the presentation, the gala kicks into high gear at 9 p.m., when The Fantasy Band from Rock Hill, SC plays soulful music for dancing guests over the next two hours.

There will be items up for auction, and Diamonds Direct has donated a ruby-and-diamond necklace to be raffled off to one lucky guest.

It goes without saying that it’s all for a great cause.

“Since 1988, The Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill has provided families from all over North Carolina and beyond a place to stay when their child is being treated at North Carolina Children’s Hospital,” says Hullender.

The Ronald McDonald House provides guests not only with shelter, but with food, activities, and transportation to-and-from the hospital.

The House is always happy to take drop-off donations of common household items such as paper towels and laundry detergent at its 101 Old Mason Farm Road location.

The Carolina Club is located at 550 Stadium Drive. Tickets are available at rmh-chapelhill.org. or at 919-913-2045.

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