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Viva Las Vegas

Rotary club raises $16,000 for charity

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POSTED: February 15, 2012 11:23 a.m.
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Randy "Elvis" Walker performed at the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill's Viva Las Vegas-themed fundraiser Saturday at the Richmond Hill City Center.

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The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill got "all shook up" Saturday at its Viva Las Vegas-themed fundraiser at the Richmond Hill City Center.

More than 300 guests turned out for the event, which included dinner, live and silent auctions and entertainment provided by Elvis impersonator Randy "Elvis" Walker.

The Rotary club raised more than $16,000 from sponsorships, ticket sales and auction bids at the fundraiser. Event organizer Larry Barker said proceeds will benefit both local and international causes.

"Most of the money we raised will go to scholarships and to Rotary's Haiti water fund, which provides solar-powered, renewable water systems to the people of Haiti," he said.

Locally, Rotary supports the Matthew Freeman Project, the J.D. Gardner Scholarship and programs to help senior citizens.

Barker also said that the event sponsorships, provided by local businesses and individuals, were "the highest we've ever had," and that ticket sales were "through the roof."

The entertainment portion of the evening showcased the talents of Randy "Elvis" Walker, an Elvis impersonator who resembled the pop culture icon in his later years. Joining him were local dancers, many from Life Moves Dance Studio in Richmond Hill, dressed as Vegas showgirls.

Walker, clad in a bejeweled jumpsuit and cape, shook and shimmied his way around the ballroom as he performed 20 songs from the King's repertoire and flirted with the female half of the audience.

"I thought Elvis sang well, looked real and was very professional," said Barker, who coordinated the evening's entertainment. "The performance went well, and the local dancers added an extra dimension."

The live and silent auctions also proved successful as items provided by local businesses quickly racked up dollar signs. Some of the most popular items up for bid included a golf package from the Ford Plantation, a Hugo Boss suit and two hunting trips to Roberts Shooting Preserve that sold for $900 each.


Rotary club president Bill Eberlein said was he pleased with the outcome of the evening.

"I know everyone had a great time, and I think the whole thing went very well," he said. "The organizers, Ray Pittman and Larry Barker, did a great job, and so did the dancers and the Richmond Hill City Center."

The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill has held a themed fundraising event every year since it was founded in 1995. Last year, the club raised more than $18,000 with a 1950s-themed prom.

"We do this once a year as a way to do something special for the community," said Barker. "We want to do something that's fun, exciting and cost-effective."

 

 

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