Many of us are familiar with Doug Crawford's fabulous photographs of Barrie's firefighters. A true girls' calendar, this fundraiser celebrates a little skin, a little sweat, some firefighting garb, great backdrops (but, who's looking at backdrops?)... all in the name of charity. Money raised from the calendar goes to Camp Bucko, a facility for kids suffering from burn injuries. So, imagine these "calendar boys" in the flesh!

Enter Hot Night in the City!

It's a case of win-win-win. Charlene Myke, new fundraising coordinator for Easter Seals in Simcoe County, has brought her creativity and her experience to her new position. The result is Hot Night in the City, a steamy fashion revue, with smoke, mirrors, theme music, and all the energy that 1,000 attending women can bring to a venue.

Barrie clothiers McNabbs, EGO, Gap, Sears, Jack Fraser and Cool Mountain are clothing the gentlemen and choreographers are working with the "stars" to produce theme shows... country and western, TV characters, and the guys are singing, or lip syncing, as talent dictates.

You'll see your favourite TV characters dressed up in theme, says Charlene, who promises a real different spin on a fashion show. All men. All funds going to Easter Seals in Simcoe County. AND the firefighters are launching their annual calendar as their own fundraiser within a fundraiser.

This evening, scheduled for September 23, at 8 pm, is one of the best $25 you could spend and Charlene is planning sales of 1,000 tickets. Hot Night in the City is keeping its location secret, with a series of clues released daily by B101. Winner of the location-guessing gets extra special treatment on show evening. Charlene says being new to Barrie hasn't stopped the flow of volunteer goods and services. The 12 calendar firefighters are donating their time, joined by 13 of their comrades on stage. Three nights of rehearsal for these guys! Sally Hansen (through Del Labs) is putting together gift packages as is Mary Kay cosmetics. The location has given a break in the rent, music, choreography, clothing, volunteer efforts have all been donated.

And who's winning? Well, ultimately the kids at Camp Bucko for one. And the children with physical disabilities who are part of the Easter Seals Program. Charlene is passionate about Easter Seals... the budget for this region is $102,000 a year. Only 6% of it comes from government, which will come as a surprise to many. And, Charlene says Easter Seals locally serves 444 families with an average annual cost per child of $3000.

With their budget almost totally raised by volunteer efforts, Charlene says her mandate includes holding events in every community covered by her region this year. The awareness and need for volunteers is as critical as raising money, she says.

As she looks at the needs of Easter Seals families, Charlene reflects on services offered so generously to people suffering heart disease, diabetes, cancer. "Easter Seals families don't have a place. We have to supply our clients with tools, electric wheelchairs, get them into walkers, lifts, using computers, get them into schools."

It's been a challenge to leave the comfort of Hamilton and move her career and family to her husband's preferred "northern" location. Charlene has been surprised, she said.

"I've been overwhelmed and touched by the generosity of people in Barrie. They seem to want to look after things. There's a small town feeling in a big city. Neighbours matter." That's quite an accolade from a newcomer!

Tickets are on sale now. You can check out the B101 website (www.b101fm.com) for ticket locations, or drop by Easter Seals at 65 Cedar Pte Dr, Mailboxes Etc at 75 Cedar Pte Dr., Curves at Cedar Pte and Welham Rd, Craft Wine on Yonge St., and Blondies Hair Styling on Worsley.

Great gift idea, this Hot Night in the City! At $25 you can't go wrong!

Thanks, Charlene. And thanks, Firefighters!

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