This Saturday marks the 11th Moonlight Magic event. Here’s how it began, how successful it is, and why it’s so much fun.
For $45 you’ll taste wine, sip craft beer, have a catered dinner, and bid on items like a trip to South Africa and a personal helicopter ride to the luxurious Keswick Hall outside Charlottesville. You’ll also be funding one of the nation’s leading cancer research and treatment facilities.
“It’s just a really fun event and helps a great cause,” said Ashley Driscoll, chair of Moonlight Magic and a board member of the Massey Alliance, a group comprised of young professionals that support Massey Cancer Center. “Every dollar that is raised goes right back into Massey.” Moonlight Magic is the first of three yearly fundraisers put on by the Massey Alliance–the others are Massey on the River (September) and last year’s inaugural Christmas Gala.
Last year, Massey Alliance donated over $140,000 to the cancer center. A majority of that money came from the roughly 400 attendees of last year’s Moonlight Magic, which raised approximately $56,000. This year, organizers hope to surpass $60,000 for the first time. Driscoll said that money raised this year will go toward a new endowment that will help fund “a younger researcher” at the cancer center. “We really want to support Massey and the young researchers that are there,” Driscoll said.
Tickets to some fundraisers can cost hundreds of dollars. But Driscoll said Moonlight Magic is “something that’s affordable for younger people.” Individual tickets cost $45 in advance ($50 at the door), and there are also special patron ticket and patron table options available.
In addition to the socializing, drinking, and dining, attendees can take part in both silent and live auctions. There are nearly 50 items up for grabs this year, including: exercise packages, micro brewery tours, Redskins tickets, as well as the trip to South Africa and helicopter ride and stay at Keswick Hall.
Massey Alliance grew out of the first Moonlight Magic in 2002.1 A group of young Massey volunteers created the event because they “wanted to do something to raise money for the cancer center but also involved their peers,” Driscoll said. Three years later, a junior board was created and Massey Alliance was born. There are roughly 40 board members serving today, made up entirely of young professionals.2
But Driscoll said that just because Massey Alliance is put on by young professionals, and geared toward their peers, it doesn’t mean events like Moonlight Magic are restricted to a younger demographic. “I think everyone from a 21-year-old to an 81-year-old can have fun at our events.”
Moonlight Magic takes place on Saturday, June 8th from 6:30 – 10:30 PM at James River Cellars. Tickets are available here.
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photo from Moonlight Magic 2012 courtesy of Massey Alliance