Rialzo IX: 8 things to expect at Meridian Health Services’ charity gala

from TheStarPress

MUNCIE, Ind. — We’re edging closer and closer to Rialzo, and a selected group of guests got a sneak peek of what the annual charity gala will entail.

Meridian Health Services held a Rialzo preview party — the party before the “purpose with a party,” if you will — which gave corporate sponsors and special contributors the first look at what the gala will offer this year, including a long list of silent auction items.

Based on information from the preview party, here’s all the fun guests can expect at this year’s gala.

When and how to get there

The party will start at 5:30 p.m. April 14, at the Horizon Convention Center. You can either park in the garage adjacent to downtown Muncie’s Courtyard Marriott, or drop your car off at the valet.

There will be extraordinary decorations

The tagline for Rialzo IX is “A Whole New World: Elevating Meridian’s Maternal Treatment Program,” and the interior decorating will surely fit that romantic desert theme. Fred Reese of NV Design, who has helped provide interior design expertise for past Rialzo events, said guests for Rialzo IX will enter through a Moroccan market. The market will include drummers, as well as live goats and chickens. “It kind of sets the tone for the event,” Reese said.

Inside, Delaware Hall within the Horizon Convention Center will be dressed in more than 30 different linens and color combinations, hanging lanterns and, according to Reese, “a lot of surprises.”

More ways to win huge prizes

A necklace that will be part of Rialzo’s raffle drawings sits on display during the event’s preview party at First Merchants Bank in downtown Muncie Tuesday evening. Rialzo IX is scheduled for Saturday, April 14. Proceeds from the event benefit Meridian Health Services. (Photo: Jordan Kartholl / Star Press)

Ever wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby, or travel to Rome and see Pope Francis? These are just a couple of the prizes a Rialzo attendee could win by participating in the event’s silent auction. Other notable items? A trip to the Masters, or a Caribbean cruise for two.

A live auction and raffle will also be available, with prizes including a Chicago Cubs fan package and a Heidi J. Hale diamond necklace and earring set.

And new this year is a Magic Carpet Ride Passport. Pick it up at check-in and get it stamped when you participate in the Desert Dig, purchase at least one raffle ticket and take a photo at the Tap Snap booth. Turn it in by 8:15 p.m. for a chance to win a deluxe spa package.

Vibrant colors, and lots of them

There’s still time to find that perfect outfit. The affair is black tie optional. Dress colors will be jewel tones of teal, orange, purple, pink and gold.

Money will go to a worthy cause

For the second year in a row, Rialzo funds will go toward Meridian’s Maternal Treatment Program. Last year, donations reached more than $150,000, designated for the program that provides care and support for drug-addicted mothers and their newborn babies. Since its opening in June of last year, two months after Rialzo VIII, the program has reached capacity with more than 30 women enrolled.

This year’s Rialzo will raise more funds for the program to expand services.

An ‘energetic’ new band

A band new to Rialzo is expected to bring the energy as it plays a nonstop set list of covers from popular swing, jazz, Motown, rock and pop songs. The Ballroom Blasters will perform about a three-and-a-half-hour set list, starting around 8:45 p.m.

A group of special honorees

At the Rialzo IX VIP event, Cornelius and Mary Dollison will be presented the Sagamore of the Wabash, an honor bestowed by the Governor of Indiana. The Dollisons have been a vital part of the community, as they helped build the foundation for the Motivate Our Minds organization. And at Rialzo, Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold will accept the Spirit of Meridian award, in part for his work in helping connecting mothers in need with Meridian’s Maternal Treatment Program services.

It will be a packed house

Scott Smalstig, vice president of fund development at Meridian, said all of the 980 available tickets have been purchased, meaning the event has been sold out.

Those who have bought tickets can pre-register at MeridianHS.org.

Audrey Kirby is a digital producer at the Star Press. Follow her on Twitter @ajanekirby, and email her story ideas: ajkirby@muncie.gannett.com.