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Gatsby Gala

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Cape Fear Literacy Fund-raiser
3/5, 6:30 p.m.
1831 Hewlett Drive
$100 individual; $175 a couple
$700, table of 8
(910) 251-0911

While it was a hard era of WWII remnants and newly enacted Prohibition, there is something mystical and appealing about the 1920s. Maybe the appeal comes from the roaring period of bootleg gin, hot jazz, rising women suffrage and a booming literary realm, all of which created present-day classics for our school classrooms.

Surely, we all remember having to complete book reports and ace our exams on Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel, “The Great Gatsby.” Fitzgerald’s tragic hero, Jay Gatsby, who stood against the greed and superficiality of his society, would most likely be pleased with Wilmington’s very own Cape Fear Literacy Council. The nonprofit organization, dedicated to raising this city’s literacy skills, is hosting a black-tie Gatsby Gala, when patrons will revisit the 1920s at the Wilmington International Airport Hangar. While at first it sounds like a suitable event for rich, shallow characters like Tom and Daisy Buchanan, everyone is welcome. After all, the Cape Fear Literacy Council’s annual fund-raiser is for their hard-working institution and staff.

“The glamorous event will support our mission to provide individualized literacy services so that adults and their families in the Cape Fear region can meet their goals and develop their potential,” community outreach coordinator Rachel Forman writes.

Though Mardi Gras has been the most consistent theme for the council’s annual fund-raisers, they hoped to change it up and offer a little diversity. Now in its 26th year, the change seems more apropos for the literacy’s mission. Terry O’Sullivan, the council’s financial coordinator, says. “Of course, Cape Fear Literacy Council is aware and appreciates the greatness of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby.’”

The atmosphere of the gala will resemble an upper-class 1920’s bash minus the snootiness. Men can don black ties and fedoras, while ladies can be militant suffragettes, sporting a bobbed hairdo, something that motivated some men back in the ‘20s to go as far as divorcing their wives (my, how times have changed!). As for entertainment, there is sure to be a plethora of festivities to take place.

“The night includes a delicious buffet dinner by Cinema Catering, open bar, the Gatsby Garden lounge with the Carolina-Duke basketball game airing on the big screen, antique cars, Las Vegas-style games (funny money for raffle prizes), a photo booth, dancing to the music of Blivet and the chance to let Fincannon and Associates sign you up as a movie extra!” Forman informs.

“There will also be our traditional silent and live auctions,” Adria Groleau, the council’s program administrative assistant, says.

All proceeds will assist Cape Fear Literacy Council’s construction, programs, course material and staff. Groleau mentions the council’s intentions to build a new structure for the staff, volunteers, tutors and students. Still, even the most basic necessities, such as keeping the electricity going and acquiring appropriate and updated study materials, must be met. “We also need to pay the few staff members we have here,” Groleau continues. “We are very lucky to have such a strong, motivated volunteer base.”

Besides supporting this crucial Wilmington council, the Gatsby Gala is intended to share and explain Cape Fear Literacy Council’s existence and their mission to extend literacy development, provide classes and opportunities for adults and families and raise awareness of the Cape Fear region’s literacy needs. “Our past fund-raisers have always been great successes,” Gruleau notes. “Currently, we haven’t sold out, but we’re expecting all our tickets to be gone before the big event.”

The Gatsby Gala will take place Saturday, March 5th at 6:30 p.m. at The Wilmington International Airport-Air Wilmington Hangar. Tickets are $100, $175 per couple, and a reserved table of eight can be purchased for $700. Black tie and 1920’s attire are required. To volunteer, sponsor or to simply acquire more information on the Gatsby Gala, call Cape Fear Literacy Council at (910) 251-9095, or e-mail Rachel Forman at To purchase tickets, visit

In the spirit of Jay Gatsby, reject the elite, greedy, shallow corruption of modern day society, and make a difference in the community…while partying!

“Under the present brutal and primitive conditions on this planet, every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being.” –Robert Anton Wilson

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