Annual Lexington Night Out gala planned

GLOVERSVILLE — The Lexington Foundation’s fourth annual Night Out celebratory fundraising gala will be held at on Thursday.

This year’s gala will tumble to new heights as The Greatest Night Out when the event tent and the Paul Nigra Center will be transformed into a big top full of circus performers including acrobats, stilt walkers, a caricature artist and a fortune teller.

According to Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart, the theme for this year’s gala was inspired by the film “The Greatest Showman.”

“We’re always trying to keep it fresh and fun for the attendees,” Hart said Monday. “Everybody loved the movie and it got us thinking, we do have an enormous tent.”

Again this year the event will include silent auctions, raffles, performances by live musicians including Flame and food and cocktails from the Union Hall Inn Restaurant.

Donated raffle and auction items this year include original pieces of artwork by over 20 artists whose works have been featured at the Paul Nigra Center, jewelry by J Fine Jewelry, tickets to a Yankees game, tickets to the Glimmerglass Festival and more.

The Greatest Night Out will feature food and entertainment throughout the Paul Nigra Center, offering guests the chance to roam the facilities and classrooms.

“You’re not stuck at a table,” Hart said. “People get to see the entire building.”

But Hart said the main attraction will be celebrating the community support the Lexington Foundation has continually received and the success of the Paul Nigra Performing Arts Center and the Transitions program.

“We think that both Transitions and the Nigra Arts Center are really unique programs and we think the work we do at Lexington is the best anywhere, we want to celebrate the work that we do,” Hart said. “We couldn’t do it without support and we think it’s a fun way to say thank you and also to celebrate those successes.”

Lexington operates the Paul Nigra Center that hosts a wide variety of events and classes including art shows, concerts, cooking classes, art classes, yoga, dance and more created, performed and led by skilled community members.

“It’s a chance to learn from people in the community,” Hart said. “All of those classes are open to the public.”

The Transitions program, which is colocated at the Paul Nigra Center, supports young people with learning differences, including those with autism spectrum disorders.

“We help them transition from high school to adult life and explore career opportunities,” Hart said. “They’re very capable young people, many of them are attending Fulton-Montgomery Community College.”

Hart said there are currently about 30 students enrolled in the program that helps participants develop life, independent living and social skills. The program also provides students assistance with their coursework.

“We want to help them to be successful,” he explained.

During the event, several businesses and individuals will be honored for their contributions making Lexington what it is today, including Century Linens, Assemblyman Marc Butler, Jack and Shirley Scott and the late Brian Hanaburgh.

Hart described all those being recognized Thursday as partners whose support spurred Lexington’s success, while pointing to Hanaburgh as being “instrumental” to Lexington’s development.

“Brian passed away in May of this year, he served on our board for over 25 years,” Hart said. “He was invaluable and we never got a chance to say thank you to him. We reached out to his family to ask to recognize his contributions to us. His wife, Anita, and some members of his family will be here.”

Proceeds from The Greatest Night Out will support the Paul Nigra Center and the Transitions program, which Hart said, do not receive state funding and are operated on revenue, grant funding and donations from the community.

“The event helps raise monies to make these programs possible,” Hart said.

Last year’s gala raised over $40,000, this year Hart said the goal is $50,000. Last year an additional $25,000 was raised during the event for the Elmore Transitions Scholarship Fund, which supports students seeking to participate in the program who may not otherwise be able to afford to do so.

“We’re hoping to do same thing again this year,” Hart said.

The scholarships are awarded throughout the year based on need and recommendation.

The Lexington Foundation will host The Greatest Night Out fundraising gala at the Paul Nigra Performing Arts Center, located at 2736 Route 30, Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Individual tickets for the event are $100. Young professionals under the age of 40 can purchase tickets for $75. Tables for 10 and several sponsorship levels are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit thearclexingtonfoundation.org/2018-night-out.

Ashley Onyon covers Gloversville. She can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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