The theme was Wishes in Wonderland. The wonderland: Dave & Buster's. The central wish: to raise enough money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation to grant one wish to a child in need and to raise money for the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
All proceeds from the third-annual charity fundraiser held Sunday went to Eevents, run by Tammy Flynn, and were divided among the two organizations equally. Although the near 60-degree weather may not have called for it, hot cocoa was served to those waiting outside the Wauwatosa restaurant to pay their $10 to get a free breakfast, games, crafts and a photo with Santa.
Growing number of wishes
The Wish in Wonderland has grown over the three years since its inception. The first year saw 200 merrymakers, while the second brought in over 700. This year's version drew roughly 600, admittedly shy of the goal of 1,000 set by Flynn and Dave & Buster's.
The average wish costs $5,000 to grant via the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Flynn said the two were able to raise enough money to grant one full wish last year. With this year's attendance, they were able to nearly grant one more full wish. Through her Eevents, she has granted 25 wishes so far.
Flynn holds four other events through the year, carrying forth her philosophy as she likes to state it: "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Orchestrating the event
Due to last year's success, Flynn and Dave & Buster's were prepared for this year's attendance. An extra buffet was added as well as a hot cocoa stand outside in anticipation of usually colder weather.
This year's event also saw Santa asking children what they wanted for Christmas, complete with a free photograph taken by Frenn Photography, in which Frenn offered parents a digital copy of the photo as well as a printout. Dave & Buster's also put all of their games on free play for the event from 9 a.m. to noon.
Between playing free games, eating free food and getting their photo taken with Santa for free, children also made crafts via Creative Memories, also for free.
Partners in charity
Flynn and Dave & Buster's have partnered since Flynn's first Evening of Elegance, her charity's yearly benefit dinner at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Wauwatosa.
The match was perfect: Dave & Buster's primary charity is the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Randy Kerney, the general manager of Dave & Buster's, said "Our philosophy is being part of the community and not just being a business operating in the community."
Flynn's next charitable Evening of Elegance, her largest, is scheduled for April.
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