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Published November 16, 2012, 11:31 PM

Robin Huebner reports: Sanford mostly mum on lavish fundraiser

Black tie event at Fargodome tonight to benefit Roger Maris Cancer Center
FARGO – If you’re curious what the setup looks like for the exclusive “Waves of Wonder” event at the Fargodome tonight, and you don’t have a ticket, you may have to simply … wonder.

By: Robin Huebner, INFORUM

FARGO – If you’re curious what the setup looks like for the exclusive “Waves of Wonder” event at the Fargodome tonight, and you don’t have a ticket, you may have to simply … wonder.

Some details for The Roger Maris Gala Inaugural Black Tie Event for Cancer are being kept very close to the vest. Because of the unique ambience organizers are creating and some of the surprises in store for those attending, they asked that no advance photos be taken.

Some 900 people are registered for the gala, which will benefit the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo.

Crews have been working since Tuesday transforming the main floor of the Fargodome, and it looks nothing like a football field or arena anymore.

Sanford Health Foundation Development Officer Amy Hinkemeyer has been heading up the event planning for nine months.

“It takes a lot of work to turn a sports venue into a black tie event,” said Hinkemeyer.

Black carpet covers the entire concrete dome floor, not only for looks but for acoustics.

Black curtains, the same ones used by the Gate City Bank Theatre, block out the view of many of the arena seats.

The décor includes large sculpted waves of white spandex and suspended silver, teal and blue fabric accents.

A custom built, wave-shaped stage is the centerpiece, and directly overhead are six huge video screens, each measuring 28 feet by 16 feet.

“You can’t find those in Fargo,” said Lee Massey, president of Media Productions, which is putting on the glitzy affair.

But Massey said the high-end pieces of equipment were brought in “not to get carried away just because they’re cool, but to enhance the story.”

The story is the ups and downs of cancer, told by three people who were recently diagnosed.

“They experience these waves of emotion,” said Hinkemeyer. “They wonder how much their life will change with the diagnosis, and they wonder what the future holds with cancer research.”

String and wind ensembles, along with a pianist, will perform live in musical choreography of sorts with the video presentation.

Organizers are hoping the crowd will be touched with emotion as well as well-fed and entertained.

The $100 per person ticket covers a wide array of appetizers, filet mignon, and dessert, all catered by Mosaic Foods.

Guests can dance to Casablanca Orchestra, a popular show band out of the Twin Cities, playing music from the 1940’s to today.

And, they can have a complimentary picture taken in front of a special, secret backdrop.

The social begins at 5:00 pm, with dinner at 6:30, followed by dancing at 9:00.

It’s an ambitious undertaking, but Hinkemeyer says they’ve had great support from many event sponsors, including The Forum, along with community members and Roger Maris Cancer Center staff.

Hinkemeyer says the goal is to raise $500,000 to benefit cancer patients and cancer research.

“It’s been a labor of love,” she said, “So to see it all come together is so rewarding.”

“You know the acronym for Waves of Wonder is WOW,” Massey said. “It wasn’t planned that way,” he quipped, “Honest.”

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