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Children's charity gala has Western theme

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Supporters of the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes will soon be able to immerse themselves in an Old West atmosphere, while supporting a good cause.

The third annual Crystal Boots Silver Saddle Gala Western Event will be held Sept. 26 from 7 to 11 p.m., at Magnolia Plantation in McDonough. Tickets are $250 each, or two for $400. The cost includes food, drinks and entertainment.

According to Wanda McGaha, a resident of the plantation and one of the organizers of the event, the fund-raiser will benefit the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes, Inc., for abused, abandoned and neglected children. Despite the economy, McGaha said she is hoping to raise tens of thousands of dollars from this year's event.

"Everybody's struggling," she said. "With the economy the way it is, I'm hoping to raise at least $100,000. If we raise more than $75,000, I'll be a happy camper."

McGaha said the event will feature a mock casino, a mechanical bull, silent and live auctions, a derby horse race, horse-carriage rides, raffles, and food from some of Atlanta's, and Henry County's, finest restaurants. Music will be provided by Talk Journey To Me, and Hollywood actor Michael Rooker is expected to attend.

Country-and-western entertainer, Chevy Taylor, is slated to sing the national anthem and Blackhawk Army helicopters will conduct a flyover, McGaha said.

Last year, McGaha said, the event drew almost 600 patrons.

"I'm expecting about 500 to 600 again this year," she said.

She said this year's event has support from multiple sponsors.

"Everybody stepped up to the plate and donated their services," McGaha said. "If it wasn't for them, none of this would be possible."

The annual fund-raiser's appeal lies in the opportunity for participants to dress up like characters from an Old West town, said McGaha.

"They like it because it's different," she added. "We require that everyone dress in 'Western chic' attire."

Magnolia Plantation is located at 4065 Airline Road. For more information, call (678) 583-5419.