Schaumburg couple gears up for Avenues benefit

As the February page blows over to March, Celtic thoughts turn to shamrocks, Irish music and dance, and corned beef and cabbage dinners.

With or without the green beer, co-chair couples Bob Healy and Peg O'Herron of Schaumburg and Mike and Mary Prindiville are putting the finishing touches on "Irish Fest," the 12th benefit for Avenues to Independence, a Park Ridge-based organization dedicated to helping adults with developmental disabilities live independently.

The fest, a full afternoon of Irish entertainment, dinner, a Pot of Gold, a Shamrock Silent Auction and Grafton Street Market, is 2 p.m. March 22 at Meridian Banquets, 1701 Algonquin Road, Rolling Meadows.

Guests may shop at the Grafton Street Market for Irish wool items, Celtic jewelry or novelties, put in their bids for the silent auction, or throw raffle stubs into the Pot of Gold gold bags before dining at a full course sit-down corned beef and cabbage dinner.

That leprechaun's golden pot can turn into a Waterford vase, other Irish crystal, Irish linen, a 12-inch Colleen doll, a Belleek ornament or even a 24-inch leprechaun nutcracker. Silent auction gems include a Waterford bowl, pearl necklace, a week's stay at a Galway, Ireland, castle or a week in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Philanthropist Frank Calabrese is a major Avenues benefactor, according to O'Herron who with her husband Healy, father of Kevin Healy, and the Prindivilles, parents of Nora, are dedicated to the Avenues concept.

Using fiddle, tin whistle and bodhran drums, dancers from The Academy of Irish Music will play traditional compositions, under no-nonsense maestro Noel Rice, a longtime musician and native of the land of 40 shades of green.

Award-winning harpist Chelsea Link returns to provide background music during dinner. Talented in music as well as science, Link of Evanston is a freshman at Harvard University.

Irish dancers are a given at any Irish-themed affair so the students of the Weber Dance Company of Chicago will make their feet fly as they dance to the fast-paced Celtic tunes.

March 6 is decision time so call O'Herron at (847) 885-8976 or Mary Prindiville at (847) 698-3081 to purchase a $60 ticket that carries a $30 tax deductible portion.

Children's plates of chicken nuggets and fries cost $20. Vegetarian meals are available.

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