GLENS FALLS - Area Attorney Paul Pontiff and Gayle Alexander of Denton Publications and Kidsville News were among a dozen area notables singing, dancing and performing antics recently to raise donations at the second annual Celebrity Luncheon of the World Awareness Children's Museum.
To prompt donations, these dozen community leaders were celebrity waiters and waitresses, responding to dares and requests from diners at their respective tables, earning tips to help fund educational programs of the Children's Museum. The luncheon was held June 5 in grand ballroom of the Queensbury Hotel.
While Pontiff wore a hula dancer's outfit and mimicked a Polynesian dance, Alexander sang "Wild Thing" and had a turban of icing created atop her head by her husband, Dan Alexander, president of Denton Publications.
Drawing on her high school days, Lanette Bowman Akerson of The Plant Doctor yodeled and performed a cheerleading routine.
Gloria Ford of Davies-Davies & Associates Real Estate in Cleverdale performed a cartwheel and played leap-frog with the event's emcee, Mark Griffin of the Regional Radio Group - all to prompt her diners to donate.
Tony Taverni, president of the Board of Directors of the World Awareness Children's Museum, performed a mock strip-tease.
Taverni said he was happy with the turnout.
"Major museums nationwide are in severe financial difficulty because donations have decreased substantially," he said. "So we're very pleased that we have this many people here so generously supporting our cause."
Nearly 100 attended the event. Lynne Rosenthal of the Children's Museum said Friday the luncheon raised $9,174 in donations.
Waiters and waitresses raising the most at the luncheon were: Gloria Ford with $1,168, followed by Tony Taverni, Gina Rios of Ridge Terrace Restaurant, and Gayle Alexander, who is publisher of Kidsville News.
Other celebrity servers were John Schutze of Schutze Family Dentistry, Charlotte Whitney of Kismet, Marilyn Van Dyke of the Warren County Historical Society, Janet Davies, theater director and actress, and Suzan Fisk of the Soroptimist Club.
Kidsville News, published by Denton Publications, is circulated to thousands of young students throughout northern New York State. The newspaper encourages youth literacy through presenting topics of history, art and science in a child-friendly style, as well as offering useful information to teachers and caregivers on nutrition, household budgeting, child safety and parenting. A total of 16,000 copies are printed and circulated monthly.
Rosenthal said the donations on behalf of the sponsors, including Denton and Kidsville News, were much appreciated. She said the money raised will go to help fund the Museum's ongoing cultural exchange efforts between hundreds of students locally, partnering with their counterparts from all over the world.
"The event was a lot of fun and showed a lot of creativity," she said. "The celebrities who helped us out were real angels."