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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fundraiser encourages guests to have a ball

Cinderella dressed up to go to the ball, but the folks at Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre and Sunrise Rotary are encouraging guests to do the exact opposite for its Take Me Out to the Ball Game dinner and auction.

As the event’s name suggests, guests are encouraged to throw on their favorite jersey or other sports attire for a casual take on a fundraising event.

After two years with a “Great Gatsby” theme, the organizations decided a new theme was in order. Following a well-received reading of “Lombardi,” based on David Maraniss’ “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,” last season, a sports-related theme made sense.

“We wanted to create a different atmosphere, have it be a little more laid back and casual this time around,” Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre Executive Director Tracey Vaughan said. “People do like to dress up, but it’s also nice to be able to be yourself and root for your team.”

In addition to musical interludes from CST artistic director Jadd Davis and Coeur d’Alene vocalist Jessi Little, guests can show off their skills at foosball, pingpong and basketball or try their hand on the putting green. There will also be pinatas in the shapes of various game balls.

Just as varied as the activities are the items up for auction. There are more than 70 silent auction items, about 10 raffle items and a dozen live auction items including dinner with firefighters at the fire station, artwork from Stephen Shortridge and Bev Doolittle, a fly fishing trip, a pig roast dinner, 18 holes and lunch at Black Rock with Dan Pinkerton and a one-week stay at the Pend Oreille Shores Resort with a lake cruise.

The partnership between Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre and Sunrise Rotary began with former Executive Director Laura Little, a member of Sunrise Rotary.

“She really saw it as a ‘Why not? This is definitely a win-win situation,’ ” Vaughan said.

Proceeds from “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” are divided between the two organizations.

Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre will use the money to fund its summer drama camps and CST on the Road, a program in which the theater tours an original musical based on a local historical event to schools.

Sunrise Rotary will use its portion of the proceeds to benefit Matt’s Place, which helps people with Lou Gehrig’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and their families.

“There’s so many good causes to give to out there and so many great organizations put on events that are similar, and how ours is different, not to disparage anyone at all, is that we really want to create an atmosphere where people can relax, have fun, enjoy their interests of sports,” Vaughan said. “In addition to our education program that the funds will go to, I think Matt’s Place is such an amazing organization for people to give their dollars to … Hearing (founder Matt Wild’s) story and being able to help with that cause is something that people could really sink their teeth into.”

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