Disco club theme draws record crowd for fundraiser

May 19, 2019

HUNTINGTON — No one was working out at the Marshall University Recreation Center on Saturday, unless you count boogying to the sounds of disco.

The disco club-themed St. Mary’s Gala, dubbed “A Night at Studio 54,” transformed the first floor of the Rec Center into the famed New York City celebrity nightclub in its prime era - the 1970s - complete with the groovy tunes provided by DJ Charlie Brown Superstar and the Bee Gees Gold tribute band, go-go dancers and mod club furniture.

The guests followed suit, with polyester suits, sequin jumpsuits, afros and platform shoes.

“It’s kind of electric ’70s,” said Melanie Kerstetter, assistant to the president of the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation.

The gala has been happening for 16 years and began as an anniversary celebration for the hospital. Since then, the foundation has transformed a different space each year into a theme-to-the-extreme venue in the name of fundraising.

Kerstetter said the gala set an attendance record this year, with 748 attendees, and was sold out.

The night wasn’t just about the bell-bottoms and disco. The fundraiser brings in an estimated $250,000 each year for the St. Mary’s Hospitality House and the St. Mary’s Center for Education, which includes the School of Nursing, School of Medical Imaging and the School of Respiratory Care.

With the proceeds from the gala, the hospital and education center are able to do small things like purchase new beds, and purchase new computers for the St. Mary’s students, according to Kerstetter.

“We’re providing for the futures of our future nurses and imaging students,” Kerstetter said.

St. Mary’s students volunteer to work service at the event, earning volunteer credit by serving up hors d’oeuvres, running ice and making it all run smoothly.

Food was prepared by St. Mary’s own chef, Jamison Ugland.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.

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