Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hollywood On the Hill Celebrates 10 Years of High Hopes

Bring on the bling – everyone’s a celebrity at this year’s Girls Night Out! This year’s Hollywood on the Hill event celebrates 10 years of High Hopes summer parties. Hundreds of women will walk the red carpet as they arrive at Sunrise Mansion on Thursday, August 14 at 6 p.m. to benefit Hope House, the YWCA Resolve shelter for domestic violence victims and their children.

Initiated in the fall of 1998 by Sandy Graff and Elsie Carter, High Hopes has raised over $400,000 for Hope House over the past 10 summers. By recruiting the help of many prominent women within the community, the High Hopes founders hosted up to 17 different parties each summer– ranging from art walks, tennis parties, Italian feasts, and game nights to fashion shows, antique shows, and even car shows.

“Our original idea was for women in the community to host lots of parties all summer long,” said Graff, who chaired the committee for the first two years before moving to Morgantown in 2001. “High Hopes started with an idea I had for a fundraiser based on similar events my sister hosted in Louisville [Kentucky], so I kept my eyes and ears open the first year for a good cause to support.”

When Elise Carter called her with the idea of helping battered women at the YWCA Resolve shelter, Graff immediately agreed. “Helping battered women is a cause that appeals to every woman,” she said. “It was perfect.”

Now, 10 years later, these smaller parties have been rolled into two grand events: Bunco Night (held last month at Edgewood Country Club) and Girls Night Out. While Girls Night Out remains consistent each year, its memorable themes have included “New York, New York,” “Wild and Wonderful Women of West Virginia,” and last year’s 60s-style “Peace, Love and Hope House.”

And this year’s Hollywood on the Hill promises more glitz, more glamour, and more fundraising potential than ever! The beautiful grounds of Sunrise Mansion (graciously offered once again by the law firm of Farmer, Cline & Campbell) will be dressed in tinsel-town style with the help of Valley Gardens. Upon arriving in-style in transportation provided by Moses Automotive Network, guests will be greeted by the paparrazzi’s flashing bulbs as they walk the red carpet and perhaps stop for an interview with our very own “Ryan Seacrest” (local radio talent Bill Shahan).

All women age 21 and over are invited to come out for star-quality hors d’oeuvres and fabulous cocktails, served by Men in Bartending. Try your luck at the raffle to win items like WVU tickets, professional portraits, spa packages, jewelry, and much more. You could even win the coveted title of “Queen of the Night” and receive exclusive VIP seating – plus be pampered all evening by your own private entourage!

Be entertained by a live DJ, followed by a special performance by some surprise celebrity guests; then dance the night away to “The Convertible Blondes” lead by rocker-chick lead singer Gina Hall. The event’s live auction promises enticing packages, including an outdoor lighting and landscape package from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Valley Gardens, a week at a condo in Wild Dunes, S.C., and several other fantastic travel packages. Upon evening’s end, take one last stroll down the Girls Night Out Walk of Fame, and head home toting a deluxe goodie bag filled with fabulous gifts.

“Each year, our hostesses put on an amazing event focused on women supporting each other and enjoying a very special night just for themselves,” said Karen Farmer, currently co-chairing High Hopes with Paige Payne and Julie Jarrett. “Our volunteers are generous and passionate about our cause, and each year we wonder how we can top the previous year – with this being no exception!”

Last year’s event drew more than 500 women and raised $90,000, while this year’s goal of $100,000 is the most ambitious goal yet. For the past 10 years, the money raised through High Hopes has assisted YWCA Resolve in providing shelter and comprehensive services to domestic violence victims and their children in a tri-county area. Each year, YWCA Resolve reaches more than 3,000 individuals in Kanawha, Boone and Clay counties through shelter and emergency services, case management, court advocacy, counseling, support groups, safety planning, and programs for children, teen dating violence prevention and batterers intervention/prevention.

Be a star in the real-life drama of ending domestic violence. Join us on August 14 for Girls Night Out. Tickets are $75 through Aug. 8 and $100 beyond that date and at the door. Register online at or call (304) 340-3573.


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