Monday, December 20, 2010

Victory Junction's Holiday Gala

The Burtons
Made possible through a grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the Victory Junction Gang Camp hosted the red carpet “Wish Upon a Star Holiday Gala" on Friday night at the Fillmore in Charlotte, N.C. The inaugural event raised money for the camp and taught children how to give back during the Christmas season. The party was for the kids, hosted by the kids.

NASCAR’s youth, Karsyn Elledge (Kelley Earnhardt’s daughter), Macy Waltrip (Michael Waltrip's daughter), the Gibbs children, the Burton children and a few campers from Victory Junction had the opportunity to walk down the red carpet and have their pictures taken like their celebrity parents, aunts/uncles or grandparent do. Some kids were shy, others were excited saying, “That was so cool,” and some teens posed for pictures more than once.

Although some of NASCAR's drivers, crew chiefs and other members in the NASCAR community did attend, Friday night was not about them - it was about the kids. Most parents did get their pictures taken with their kids, after the kids had their moment alone in the spotlight, but they deliberately dodged journalists; this was not a night for interviews or work, but a night to sit back, relax, celebrate, eat, drink and enjoy the company.

Karsyn Ellege, left, and Macy Waltrip
Victory Junction employees spent the day at the Fillmore decorating and preparing the bar for the event. They hung oversized Christmas bulbs from the ceiling, as well as set the tables for the event's silent auction.

The camp auctioned off autographed items like hats, an M&Ms gift basket, a Taylor Swift gift basket, a Junior Nation leather jacket, Christmas trees, worn fire shoes from various drivers, a Heidi Newfield gift pack and autographed guitars. One guitar from The Jonas Brothers was auctioned off for $3,000. Another was a pink guitar from Taylor Swift. This one was a hit - all the kids wanted her guitar. The bidding started at $500 and kept getting higher, with Kelley Earnhardt fighting for it with Kim Burton. It was finally sold for $5,100, after Kyle Petty asked the ladies if both would be willing to pay the money, he would get a second autographed guitar by Taylor Swift.


Guitars from the Jonas Brothers and
Taylor Swift up for auction
Campers from Victory Junction
Heidi Newfield performed her top hits and helped the kids with the auction, but what I loved seeing the most were the kids sitting on the stage and how she interacted with them. It was clear in her performance that she loves to sing for kids.
Heidi Newfield performs

I'm grateful I had the chance to attend, observe and report the night's festivities.

If you're interested, you can view more professionally taken pictures at Kevin Cole Photography.

Photos by Genevieve Cadorette

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