By Shilpa Gopinath Posted May 6, 2008, 3:20 PM EDT
Samples from 94 wineries and 28 restaurants were on offer at the Make-A-Wish Foundation's annual Uncork a Wish wine tasting and auction at the Santa Monica airport's Barker Hangar. The organization's 15th annual fund-raiser on Saturday featured a Moulin Rouge theme, with costumed performers greeting guests at the entrance and a performance by cabaret group the Glamazons.
At the entrance, a large ice sculpture featuring the nonprofit's logo doubled as a martini bar, with cocktails from sponsor Ciroc. Beyond were tables set with silent-auction items including art, jewelry, vacation packages, cars, and kid-friendly activities. Wineries and restaurants set up their stations on the perimeter of the facility and offered tastings for the estimated 1,500 guests.
Decor elements reinforced the Moulin Rouge theme with red lighting and lounge furniture. Large, round spinning disks hanging above the auction tables projected slides of the organization's beneficiaries. “We wanted to give people a reminder of why we do this fund-raiser: to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said Make-A-Wish Los Angeles event director Tessa Bowser.
The evening closed with an act by the Glamazons (a cabaret group with a stint on America’s Got Talent on its résumé), who performed songs including “Lady Marmalade,” “It's Raining Men,” and their own numbers before yielding to the live auction. Surprise guest Ryan Seacrest contributed by auctioning off two tickets to an American Idol taping.
Numbers are still being calculated, but the event's take was likely about $350,000.