Long story short, Saturday night was meant to be a quiet night for me. I was over at my sister’s house helping her get ready when all of a sudden, there was a spare ticket to the Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice Dinner. Next thing I know, (eight minutes later to be exact) I was dressed and ready for the night ahead. The three course dinner was hosted at Southern Cross Club as the finale for the Cerebral Palsy ACT Celebrity Apprentice fundraiser.
Classic bathroom selfie pre event :D
Eleven ‘high-profile’ Canberrans had been working to fundraise money for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance ACT, starting fundraising in August last year. Among the Charity Apprentices are
The idea being who ever raised the most amount of money was crowned the Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice for 2013 – 14.
We arrived just after 6.30 and were ushered into the Ballroom to find our table, there were ten to a table, with 35 tables so it was a great turn out for the night. The room was decorated with multi-coloured balloons and lollipops as the table centre pieces (they know my weakness). The theme looked like the Willy Wonka factory, perfectly whimsically and colourful for such an event.
The proceedings started quite quickly, we watched a video about the work of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, which I must say was pretty confronting. It drew attention to the very worthy cause that we were all there to fundraise for.
Just some basic facts from the night about Cerebral Palsy:
Cerebral Palsy is a permanent disability which affects movement. Every 15 hours an Australian child is born with Cerebral Palsy– that means one in five hundred babies. There is no known cure and for most the cause is not fully understood.
1 in 3 children are unable to walk
1 in 5 children are unable to talk
1 in 4 children has epilepsy
People with cerebral palsy may also have impairments affecting their vision, hearing or intellect
We had a quick rundown of the proceedings for the night, with the entertainment from the apprentices being the main highlight. We were encouraged to dig deep with our donations and bet money to make the apprentices do various tasks. Twerking on stage for $500 anyone?
First there was a glowstick dance, involving all the apprentices. There were also judges involved who would rank the apprentices performance, so there was a fundraising winner and also a winners of the highest score at the end of the night. I had no idea who the judges were and to be honest they were a bit tacky with their criticisms. Needless to say they would only get worse the more wine we all consumed.
We were further up the back (closer to the bar – WINNING) so the photos leave a bit to be desired!
Around the room were silent auctions, with all of the auction items being donated from various sponsors. We browsed around the room and placed our bets until the entrees were served. I had a goats cheese tartlet served with roasted hazelnuts. The alternative was rare roast beef with a salad. The photos I have are all pretty bad as the room was dark for most of the proceedings but the food was great. Served quickly and everything was still hot by the time was received it. FANTASTIC
Next on the entertainment agenda was Karaoke, the apprentices were paired together and performed a song of their choosing.
We had performances from Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, LMFAO and the cast of Grease, with costume changes, wigs and all! My favourite were Elizabeth Lee and Hani Sidaros who did a mash up of Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing and Timber by Kesha and Pittbull. With their song choice and crowd participation they easily won that challenge.
I must admit the proceedings got a little blurry at this point but I believe the band played next. Groovalicious, got us all out of our sits onto the dance floor. Mains were served, an alternate drop of steak and chicken breast. Cue my new vegetarian dietary requirements (without any warning I must admit) most of the table were finished their meals before I was served. I had a vegetable curry which was delicious! So kudos to the improv of the Southern Cross Club.
Steak and Veggie curry :) again the photos are terrible because of the lighting (and maybe the drinking :P)
Whilst we were all eating dinner they introduced a ukulele player to accompany another video from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. It was touching footage of children and young adults who had received services from the charity, did I mention the accompanying song was ‘Over the Rainbow’. I must admit as soon as I heard a few chords I grabbed my napkin. Cue the tears. We ate lollipops to feel better – plus they gave out the leftover glowsticks from the dancing.
They brighten the atmosphere soon after with some Bollywood dancing performed by the apprentices. We were waiting in line for the photo booth while the apprentices were on, but professional dancers from Bollywood Dance academy soon took the stage and we raced to the dance floor to join them. It was definitely one of the highlights of the evening. Similar to line dancing with the dance floor following the moves of those on stage, it was incredibly upbeat and energetic.
During the night there was also raffles and a chance to win a pearl and diamond pendant donated by Briolette. You bought an oyster for $25 and draw a number out of a bowl. You weren’t allowed to take your oyster straight away (obviously if someone won they wouldn’t sell any more tickets) there were only 100 tickets total so we bought our tickets at the very start of the event.
We opened our oysters just before dessert and neither Sister or I won sadly. However the dessert was enough to comfort our sore losing. There was passionfruit cheesecake (which was a HUGE portion) or a chocolate mousse cake. I cursed myself eating so much rice earlier because the mousse cake was heavenly.
The strawberry was whole when the cake was served – my photo skills werent quick enough!
During desert there were some auctions, lunch with the Raiders and a getaway package for 8 people, both fetching high prices, to donate to the cause.
Then, and I’m not even sure how to explain this, there was a snail race. Each apprentice had a snail with a number on its back, on a circle on the dance floor. The first to the outer edge of the circle won. I didn’t think this was either fun or necessary given the tone of the evening. Half of the snails didn’t even move, bit of a snooze fest really. The snails were cleared off and we were invited back to the dance floor while the scores were being tallied.
I should mention before the night even started there was already over $96,000 raised which is a massive achievement. There was a strong lead from Scott Cass-Dunbar on $17,700 but then a gentleman took the stage. He was a guest of Sophie Luton, from Luton Properties, and as a last minute effort to get over on top of the leader board, a dinner with Sophie was auctioned. It was a bit Coyote Ugly for my liking but the final price was $8,000! The bet did come from within her party but what a fantastic donation.
All the apprentices were called onto stage and promptly ‘fired’ for various slip ups throughout the event. The winner of the highest score was Elizabeth Lee. There were streamers and confetti thrown over the stage as the winners of the title Canberra Celebrity Charity Apprentice for 2013 – 14 was announced. The tied winners of the fundraising was Scott Cass-Dunbar and Sophie Luton. Luckily they had a crown for both. Then it was back into the dance floor to dance the night away.
I was trying to look for totals of the fundraising tallies but the totals haven’t been confirmed post event. With some basic mathematics, (not even including the silent auction, raffle tickets sales, or briolette oyster tickets) the goal of raising over 100,00 was well surpassed. I had an absolutely fantastic night and look forward to hopefully attending the event next year again, to support the Cerebral Palsy Alliance ACT.
You can still donate to this fantastic cause by clicking HERE