The “Evening of Serious Fun,” aptly named as an offshoot of the Harris L. Kempner Serious Fun Children’s Series performances (based on children’s books) — is not your typical fundraiser. This annual event set from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at The Grand 1894 Opera House at 2020 Postoffice St. in Galveston, is at its heart, a casual, fun Friday night of partying onstage at The Grand, which happens to benefit a very good cause.

For the same cost as a typical date night out, you get an open bar, amazing food by the Galveston Restaurant Group, a chock-full silent auction and games that give you the opportunity to win big prizes.

Since the event’s inception, the party theme has been based on one of the Serious Fun Children’s Series performances. I’ve always thought this was a fun and creative way to tie-in and remind everybody why we’re really here — the children. This year’s theme springs from Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure — a production that gives students a better understanding of aquatic creatures from bygone eras, connecting them to the real science of paleontology — not to mention the fun of discovery.

The Serious Fun Children’s Series performances are offered to area students and schools during the school year through school field trips to The Grand. Classes who attend these performances read the book beforehand in class, really making it an interactive program that helps children visualize a book in a new way and gets them excited about reading and learning. I can’t think of a more enriching experience for a young child than to read a book then see it come to life before their eyes in a theatre that makes them feel like they’re in a another world.

What you can further appreciate about these performances is that they are not exclusive to students who have the means to buy a ticket. The Grand’s Daisy’s Friends program provides funding for disadvantaged students so that they can attend these awesome shows with their classmates. Having exposure to the arts — that they may have never gotten otherwise — could impact a child’s life more than we realize.

Along with proceeds from the event benefitting Daisy’s Friends and the Serious Fun Children’s Series, it also benefits The Grand’s other educational programs such as The Grand Kid’s Festival and ARToberFEST — events and programs that truly benefit and enrich our community. You may join us by calling The Grand’s box office at 409-765-1894 or by visiting www.thegrand.com.

I hope to see you onstage.

Heather Peterek is chair of The Grand 1894 Opera House’s “Evening of Serious Fun” event.

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