Shop downtown Geneva to aid school foundation

 
 
Published7/29/2009 12:00 AM

The million-dollar mark is within view.

That's $1 million. A 1, followed by 6 zeros. That's a lot of cool cash, raised by a volunteer organization and spent over the past 22 years to help enrich the academic lives of Geneva's schoolchildren.

 

And now, spending some money in downtown Geneva on Aug. 7 could help propel the Geneva Academic Foundation over that noteworthy million-dollar finish line.

"Viva Geneva" will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 7, a collaborative event between the merchants and GAF that will help both groups. It's GAF's major fundraiser for the year, besides its membership drive.

GAF was founded in 1987, with a goal of providing extras tax dollars can't cover. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was a GAF board member for five years, and my late brother-in-law was a founding member.) Since then, the organization has raised more than $960,000 for art kilns, computers and other technological equipment and programs, books and all kinds of other enrichment opportunities.

Registration and check-in are on the Kane County Courthouse lawn, on South Third Street.

Geneva High School graduate Matt Rodewald, now a Chicago traffic reporter, will emcee the evening.

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"This will help bring traffic to Geneva's stores," said event Chairwoman Deb Brown. "The merchants have always been so supportive of us."

Tickets are $50 each. Of that, $25 goes to GAF as a donation, plus buyers receive $25 in merchant money, to be used in downtown stores that night and in the future. Participants also receive a coupon book filled with discounts and special offers from participating merchants.

"Everyone is offering some type of promotion," Brown said.

The evening also includes a scavenger hunt, a raffle, silent auctions, golf tournaments, plus musical entertainment throughout the downtown area provided by Geneva students and others.

Many merchants will be offering food or drink or other attractions, to add to the ambiance of the evening.

Besides shopping, two silent auction items - one of school-related items and the other featuring donations from merchants and others - are on the docket.

At the school auction, front-row seats to Geneva High School's graduation are sure to prompt spirited bidding. "Last year that went for $700," said Brown. And many years ago, during the GAF's dinner-dance fundraiser, those seats went for more than $1,000. Also on the auction block are front-row seats for eighth-grade promotion exercises at the two middle schools, the chance to be principal for the day at Harrison Street Elementary School, plus front-row seats and reserved parking for various popular grade school events.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Prizes at the city/merchant auction include the always-popular chance to ride with Santa during the Christmas Walk, plus merchant baskets and gift certificates.

The more competitive and eagle-eyed shoppers can be on the lookout for various details found in Geneva's stores, part of a Geneva History Center photo scavenger hunt that's part of Viva Geneva.

Dollars spent during the evening mean earning raffle tickets. Prizes are $500 reimbursement of purchases made that evening, an overnight stay in a river-view room at the Herrington Inn (good for one year) and a foursome, with golf cart, at Tanna Farms Golf Club. Winners need not be present to win.

The GAF hopes to sell 400 tickets to the evening and to raise $16,000.

"We're so close to the million-dollar mark. I'd like to say this event helped get to that line," said Brown.

She pointed out Chamber of Commerce gift dollars don't expire, so even if someone can't attend that night, he or she can still shop and benefit GAF and the merchants. "Chamber dollars are good forever," she said.

Tickets to Viva Geneva are available at Geneva City Hall, Country Naturals, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Geneva History Center, Persimmon Tree, State Street Jewelers and Town and Country Gardens and from GAF members. For information, visit www.gafgeneva.org or call Brown at 630-849-4929.

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