HOUGHTON - It's a special night for the ladies.
Or as Jeannie Grathoff describes it - "a mom prom."
"It's a night for women to get together, get dolled up and have some fun," she said of the second annual Ladies Spring Gala May 5. "This year it happens to fall on Cinco de Mayo."
The gala, held from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. in the third floor ballroom of the Memorial Union Building at Michigan Technological University, is a formal social event for ladies 21 years old and above. The evening includes live music by On the Frits, hors d'oeuvres, door prizes, two cash bars, silent raffles and dancing. A fundraiser for the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Jeannie's on Quincy Street in Hancock.
"When I started this last year I decided to do it to raise money for a local charity," Grathoff said. "Last year we donated $1,000 to SKY (Simple Kindness for Youth)."
Grathoff said executive chef Eric Karvonen is preparing the food, which will include vegan options, Mexican appetizers, and a special punch made from fresh fruit.
Since the evening falls on Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican theme will carry throughout the ballroom.
"Each table will have a sombrero in the center and we're going to have all sorts of bright colors," she said. "I even told Steve Jones, who is an amazing guitarist, to practice his (Carlos) Santana."
While ladies are encouraged to wear a dress, Grathoff said this year she suggests they wear what they already have.
"I know I have so many dresses in my closet so I'm telling people to find something in their closet," she said. "For the money you were going to spend on buying an outfit, buy raffle tickets so it goes to charity."
Last year, Grathoff said she saw a variety of styles, from bridesmaids dresses and mother of the bride dresses to actual prom dresses. Little black dresses would be another option.
"The whole fun of this is getting all dressed up because we never get to do it," she said. "I don't know too many women who don't enjoy doing that."
Grathoff said local businesses have donated items for the silent raffles, however, others are welcome to do so if they're interested. Sponsorships are also welcome, she said.
"It would be greatly appreciated," she said. "Anyone interested in doing that can call me (523-5465) and let me know."
There are 200 tickets available for the gala and they must be purchased ahead of time. If someone wants to call and order a ticket, Grathoff said they can mail her a check and the ticket will be waiting for them at the door.
"Just give me a call and let me know," she said. "Once the tickets are gone they're gone."
Grathoff said last year's gala was a success and those who participated "had a blast."
"Everybody was on the dancefloor," she said. "Women know that their girlfriends are a very important part of their life, and this is a really nice bonding experience. "It's a real girl's night."
For more information, call Jeannie Grathoff at 523-5465.