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Out & About

5 unique fundraisers brought people Out & About last year

Shirley McMarlin
| Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Tickets are available for the second annual Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Cinco de Mayo gala, set  May 4. From left: Jo Ellen Numerick, Jill Briercheck and Jan Taylor-Condo enjoy the inaugural 2017 event.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Tickets are available for the second annual Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Cinco de Mayo gala, set May 4. From left: Jo Ellen Numerick, Jill Briercheck and Jan Taylor-Condo enjoy the inaugural 2017 event.
Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra board president Jim Cook and his wife Jill at the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Cinco de Mayo gala, held May 5 at the Westmoreland Country Club near Export.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra board president Jim Cook and his wife Jill at the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Cinco de Mayo gala, held May 5 at the Westmoreland Country Club near Export.
Seton Hill University student Maureen Kailhofer models a costume she made for the Art as Fashion cocktail party, held April 28 at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Seton Hill University student Maureen Kailhofer models a costume she made for the Art as Fashion cocktail party, held April 28 at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.
From left: Seton Hill University students Noah Zaken, Trenae Waller and Halle Polechko wearing costumes created for the  Art as Fashion cocktail party, held April 28 at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Seton Hill University students Noah Zaken, Trenae Waller and Halle Polechko wearing costumes created for the Art as Fashion cocktail party, held April 28 at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.
From left: Executive Director Annie Urban with event co-chairs Joe Byers and Sandy Morgan on Sept. 15 at the Fort Ligonier Cannon Ball.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Executive Director Annie Urban with event co-chairs Joe Byers and Sandy Morgan on Sept. 15 at the Fort Ligonier Cannon Ball.
More than 400 guests filled Fort Ligonier's new education center and patio during the Cannon Ball on Sept. 15.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
More than 400 guests filled Fort Ligonier's new education center and patio during the Cannon Ball on Sept. 15.
Founder Candy Nelson (third from left) leads a champagne toast to celebrate the opening of the Animal Friends of Westmoreland large animal sanctuary, during the Barnyard Ball at the Unity facility on Oct. 20.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Founder Candy Nelson (third from left) leads a champagne toast to celebrate the opening of the Animal Friends of Westmoreland large animal sanctuary, during the Barnyard Ball at the Unity facility on Oct. 20.
From left: Scott Tarabek, Kelly Koshinsky and Kathy Tarabek search for a lucky horse shoe during the Barnyard Ball on Oct. 20 at The Animal Friends of Westmoreland's large animal sanctuary in Unity.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Scott Tarabek, Kelly Koshinsky and Kathy Tarabek search for a lucky horse shoe during the Barnyard Ball on Oct. 20 at The Animal Friends of Westmoreland's large animal sanctuary in Unity.
Laura Johnson and Mike Lorenz (on the stairs) lead a flash mob of dancers at Dancing With Celebrities, to benefit Open Your Heart to a Senior, held Nov. 10 at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Laura Johnson and Mike Lorenz (on the stairs) lead a flash mob of dancers at Dancing With Celebrities, to benefit Open Your Heart to a Senior, held Nov. 10 at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin.
Jeffrey Siegwarth and Luanne O'Brien jive during Dancing With Celebrities, to benefit Open Your Heart to a Senior, on Nov. 10 at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Jeffrey Siegwarth and Luanne O'Brien jive during Dancing With Celebrities, to benefit Open Your Heart to a Senior, on Nov. 10 at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin.

There's never a shortage of fundraising fun in these parts, but some events from the past year are worth a second look. Here are five from 2017 that are noteable because they were new, or for the innovative approach they brought to the gala genre.

Art as Fashion cocktail party

Art came to life as 20 Seton Hill University students modeled their costume creations at an April 28 cocktail party to kick off the Art as Fashion weekend at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.

Based on works from the museum's collection, the costumes served as the students' final projects for costume design and technology classes taught by Susan O'Neill.

Adventurous guests took a cue from the students, wearing their own carefully curated outfits.

While event committee members moved through the crowd to model goods from local specialty apparel shops, a pop-up market of style trucks camped out in the museum parking lot.

Westmoreland Symphony Cinco de Mayo party

Guests reached deep into their closets for fun and funky outfits for this muy caliente fundraiser for the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, on May 5 in the Westmoreland Country Club near Export.

Jill Cook, wife of board chairman Jim Cook, raided her own closet for Jim's black leggings and a black bolero jacket with gold embroidery. Jim added a tuxedo shirt, maroon cummerbund, family-heirloom bolo tie, black hat and gold snakeskin shoes. Jill wore a flowing black dress with handkerchief hem and authentic Mexican sombrero, black with gold stitching and sequins.

Jill Briercheck was fiesta-ready in a black tiered skirt, ruffled teal top and fingerless black lace gloves. Jo Ellen Numerick tucked a red rose into her raven tresses.

While some partiers hung out at the margarita bar, others boogied to a red hot “Tequila” by Gary Racan and the Studio E Band.

Fort Ligonier Cannon Ball

Traffic was bumper to bumper as more than 400 revelers wended their way to Fort Ligonier on Sept. 15 for the Cannon Ball.

The invitation said, “It's not a dance, but you will have a ball!”

From the bountiful appetizers to the spirited live-auction bidding to bagpipe music by Connor Evans, the fundraising fete was a blast.

The museum's new education wing and its patio came in handy to accommodate the crowd, as Executive Director Annie Urban and fort staffers, including Julie Donovan andErica Nuckles, did their best to give everyone a personal welcome.

Between the museum and the hilltop stockade, re-enactor Wade Stoner held court in an officer's tent, of the type that Maj. George Washington might have called home on the frontier.

Animal Friends Barnyard Ball

You've probably heard of the Backyard Brawl, but what about the Barnyard Ball?

That was the name given to the 12th annual auction gala and opening celebration for the new large animal sanctuary operated by Animal Friends of Westmoreland.

The rural romp drew more than 400 guests on Oct. 20 to the sanctuary property along Smiths Hill Road in Unity, backing up traffic about a half-mile to Route 30. Jeans, boots, flannel and cowboy hats were de rigueur.

Animal Friends founder Candy Nelson and her husband, Dr. Reed Nelson, pointed guests in the direction of food, drink, silent auction tables and stalls that already housed a few calves and a couple of pink piglets.

Hay bales held the traditional cookie table, while Cash Whitley and the Hard Luck Kings rocked out in the hayloft.

Dancing With Celebrities

How to keep the Dancing With Celebrities formula fresh? Start the show with a flash mob.

About two dozen dancers from their 20s to their 80s wowed the crowd on Nov. 10 in the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, as Open Your Heart to a Senior (formerly Faith in Action) kicked off its third annual celebrity dance-off.

The SRO audience was further proof that the dance contest is still alive and well.

As dancing got underway, the crowd tried to influence judges Amy Wadas, David Kay and Gene Good with a steady stream of cheers, boos and catcalls.

When the racket subsided, Rosemary Spoljarick and Dmitry Demidov took first place for their samba. Waltzing into second were Leslie Schupp and Chuck Watson, while Jeffrey Siegwarth and Luanne O'Brien jived their way to third.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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