Imagine this! You're standing in your party clothes, drink in hand, plate of delectables at your side and you're looking up... way up! The guy wires are strung close to the ceiling of the second story at Barrie Public Library. A troupe of aerialists, 8 or 10 of them, swinging from wires, will add zing to your sense of wonder.

The troupe, professionals from the team Anandam is one of several entertainers who will fĂȘte party goers on Friday, October 23 from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. A gala at the library? Why? Why not!

It's part of the unique approach being launched by the Committee of young professionals who are raising $1million for the new Barrie Library in the south end. "Branching out" is the theme, and a team of younger fundraisers has stepped up to the plate.

It's a twofold story, really, and this gala next Friday night is just one aspect. Organized by Robyn Carlson, a City of Barrie solicitor, the gala is set to raise $15,000 toward the library's $1 million public campaign. It's benefitting from fabulous food donors (Akira, At The Five and Cravings) as well as jazz performances and the opportunity to mix, mingle and bid on silent auction items.

A tremendous variety of auction items, useful for businesses and individuals, will be on hand at the gala evening; the organizers expect to raise $10,000 on the auction alone. Paintings, technical services such as a year's web hosting, gift baskets, gift certificates for a plethora of services, a catered dinner party, the redesign of a diamond, hotel and golf packages... lots to choose from.

This event, at $75 per person, has been designed to be affordable for as many people as possible. Robyn Carlson expects that all 200 tickets will be sold. Robyn's gala team includes library volunteers and members of the Branching Out Campaign fundraising team.

The team itself is an interesting story. Two of its members, Cesia Green and Andrea Peacock Ryan, are children of the 1980's fundraising team when the current downtown library was built. Marshall Green, lawyer and Barry Peacock, business owner both served on that fundraising team. When the library's fundraisers called on the two men again, they gestured towards their daughters and suggested it was time to look to new energy.

And now, Cesia (lawyer) and Andrea (chiropractor) have joined Campaign Chair Tim Johnston, (financial advisor), Stephanie Adams and Giulia Rinaldi (real estate agents), Aileen Reyes Picknell (business woman) and Corey Wall (lawyer) to bring in the dollars for this new south-end library.

To be located on Dean AVE, next to the Zehrs at Yonge and Big Bay Point, this new library will begin construction in May 2010. By February (four months from now) the campaign team plans to have $1 million in the bank towards the building.

Cesia Green explains: "It's wonderful when an organization gives us $50,000 towards our goal, but we are really interested in lots of small fundraisers that individuals can do... $50 to buy a book; the small things that groups can do. Our Buy a Leaf campaign will hopefully be in many retail stores so people can add a looney to their shopping order. We're doing schools fundraisers with a Battle of the High School Bands at the Roxx on November 28. Rob Hamilton has donated the venue and all the equipment for this event," says Cesia.

"We're capitalizing on the Dancing With The Stars idea and holding it every Wednesday in November at the Southshore, with the grand finale at Gryphon Theatre on December 11. Local personalities will be participating."

"Kids can help, too, with the Colour in Marvin the Moose and glue some toonies onto the colouring sheet."

"It's all about everybody," says Cesia.

Stay tuned for other library fundraising ideas, but for now, you can ante up a gift for the Gala's Silent Auction, or order a ticket or two to attend. For either, call Chris Vander Kruys at 728-1010 X7137 or contact Cesia Green at 705 722-7272, or cesia@wall-arm.ca.

Thanks, Robyn! Thanks, Cesia! And thanks to the entire committee who has taken this on!

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