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Meg Loncharic: Annual Barber drawing offers appealing prizes |

Meg Loncharic: Annual Barber drawing offers appealing prizes

The event, held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, has become a tradition as mothers and daughters, sisters and groups of friends gather to shop and socialize.

Some lucky ladies will soon be enjoying lavish spa treatments, stunning jewelry and fashionable accessories and handbags.

These are just some of the appealing items included in nearly 50 bountiful gift baskets that will be raffled at the Ladies Only Luncheon Nov. 18 at the Kahkwa Club. The annual event, a spirited gathering that sells out every year, benefits services for children at the Barber National Institute.

Event chairwoman Gretchen Hunter and her committee have been gathering donations for months that are now being assembled in baskets with a value of at least $300 each.

Guests will see some fabulous items such as certificates from SandCille Spa for a luxury spa day and monthly manicures, and a handcrafted sterling silver necklace donated by Les Crago Jeweler that was designed and crafted by Thistle and Bee. Other items include a Dyson vacuum, a football autographed by Steelers players, handcrafted quilts and clothing for American Girl dolls, ski trips to Peek’n Peak Resort, and certificates to exclusive restaurants and entertainment venues.

Raffles will also be held for the top prize – a trip to New York City with $1,000 spending money; and the Diva Design prize – a Kate Spade tote, wallet and coordinating accessories.

The event, held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, has become a tradition as mothers and daughters, sisters and groups of friends gather to shop and socialize. The boutique vendors, including several new merchants, will offer an exciting array of merchandise perfect for holiday gift giving such as unique jewelry, scarves and other accessories, home decor and bath products, handmade girls’ dresses and sweet treats.

Now in its 15th year, the luncheon has raised more than $500,000 to fund programs for children at the Barber National Institute. Check for information and online raffle entries at


Ireland trip winners

Ever been the winner of a drawing? Read on.

What Debbie Wilczynski thought was an ordinary Monday morning turned out to be not so ordinary for her. As she put it, “While I was in my kitchen preparing dinner for that evening, I had noticed my answering machine blinking that there was a message. I played the message to hear: ‘Hi Debbie. This is Gary Johnson from the Irish Festival at St. Patrick’s Church. … You are going to Ireland, baby!’”

“I just cried out ‘oh my gosh!’ a few times over,” she said. “I played the message again as not believing what I just heard.” Her husband, Larry Wilczynski, was the one who bought three tickets, one with his name on it and two with her name. Since they are going to be celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary on June 2, 2018, the couple decided they would use this wonderful trip at that time.

Ironically, Larry’s brother and his wife, Tony and Cindy Wilczynski, of Greene Township, and a group of friends had just returned from a 10-day trip to the Emerald Isle. Also, Debbie’s aunt, Kathleen Murphy Underwood, of Ft. Myers, Florida, visiting here at the time, had vacationed there just last year.

“I am still in awe that out of all those tickets in the barrel, my name was the one pulled out,” Debbie said. “It came at a time when we needed a real pick-me-up.” While she was at the festival, she had been talking to a travel agent about setting up a trip to Ireland.

You could call it divine intervention.


Clubhouse fundraiser

The Woman’s Club of Erie is planning “Magic Mayhem,” a murder mystery event starring the In All Seriousness Murder Division. Coordinator Bill DeLozier and troupe members of In All Seriousness have been delighting and entertaining audiences in the tri-state area for more than 20 years.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday to welcome the performers and guests.

Attendees will have an opportunity put their investigative powers to work and determine who is the culprit and his/her motive.

Chairperson/board member Donna Harrington and her committee are busy finalizing details to enhance their guests’ experience. The $50 ticket price includes the show, hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and complimentary wine and beer. There will be prizes and a raffle.

For prepaid reservations, call 450-3199 or send a check made payable to the Woman’s Club of Erie, 259 W. Sixth St., Erie, PA 16507.

Tribute event lauded

The Fifth Annual St. Mary’s Follies drew an estimated 416 attendees plus a remarkable 62 sponsors, and raised more than $91,000 for the newly renamed James E. Mantyla Benevolent Care Program. The event showcases the Ageless Remarkable Erieite Award given in recognition of local individuals or couples (over the age of 75) who are active in the Erie community, sharing their gifts and talents in selfless service to others.

The 2017 honorees — James and Mary Ann Toohey, Donna Geiger and William Bloomstine — were profiled in tribute videos produced by Gray Matter Media and shown on several overhead screens.

The dinner fundraiser and award ceremony, sponsored by St. Mary’s Home of Erie, was held Sept. 14 at the Bayfront Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom.

Erie Playhouse performers — Kate Amatuzzo, Karen Brennan, Charles Corritore, Jean Malthaner, Michael Malthaner, Bob Martin, Patrick Thiem and Rich Tryzbiak — entertained with a medley of iconic love songs throughout the evening.

All proceeds make a difference for today’s seniors benefiting from the Benevolent Care Program. The program, said staff member Emma Toner, provides financial assistance to qualified seniors admitted to residential care at Saint Mary’s Home of Erie who now find they are outliving the expenses for their care.

POSTSCRIPT: Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied. — Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), American writer, missionary.

Meg Loncharic can be reached at

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