By Mitra Sorrells Posted August 31, 2011, 12:32 PM EDT
This is the fourth year in a row that Ikea has donated chairs for the fund-raiser, which signals the start of the cultural season in central Florida. “We think that a rich cultural life is important to young people, and this is a fun way to use our product in the community,” said Gabriella Eitingon, Ikea Orlando’s community relations manager.
The event began with a V.I.P. reception backstage for about 200 people. Guests dined on food from White Wolf Cafe and Talk of the Town Restaurant Group eateries, including Charley's Steak House, FishBones, and MoonFish. In addition to the chairs, the silent auction included a variety of experiential packages, such as walk-on roles in local productions, backstage tours, and the chance to conduct an orchestra.
Following the reception, attendees joined more than 1,200 general admission guests in the main theater for performances from 14 groups such as the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, SAK Comedy Lab, and Emotions Dance. Organizers estimate the event raised about $30,000, which will be used to promote member organizations during the coming year.