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Group organizes rooftop fundraiser

BY LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

Local event organizers know it's best not to mess with success.

After last year's Fourth of July party atop the Irvin Cobb Hotel proved "a sold-out smash," Kenn Gray, president of the Paducah Philanthropic Committee, and Allison Hart, owner of Occasions Unlimited, have teamed up to offer another charitable event at the historic building.

The Paducah-McCracken County Habitat for Humanity, Starfish Orphan Ministry and Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club will benefit from the party's proceeds this go-round, and the Philanthropic Committee hopes to raise at least $1,000 for each organization, Gray said.

"I've always been a believer that you can't live in a community and not give back to it," he said.

Last year's celebration served both as a fundraiser for the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and a venue for Hart to announce that she'd be taking over the lease of the old hotel's kitchen, ballroom and lower-level dining room to use as venues for special events. Since then, attendees have been calling Gray to ask if they'd be putting on the party again, he said.

The Paducah Philanthropic Committee officially came together last February with the intent to help as many of Paducah's numerous charities and nonprofits as possible. To date, the roughly 100 committee members have served more than 1,300 volunteer hours and raised nearly $40,000 for area nonprofits, Gray said.

Committee members most often volunteer at other organizations' established events; the Fourth of July party marks one of the few that it puts together on its own, he added.

The shindig features a silent auction and music by Reggie LaFaye and special guests Keith Brown and Megan Masterson, as well as local band The $ellouts.

"And then, of course, the pièce de résistance (is) the best view of the Paducah riverfront fireworks," Gray added.

He expects about 250 people to attend the party, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the Irvin Cobb Hotel. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $20 for children younger than 12. They may be purchased by calling 270-705-2849.

For more information about the Paducah Philanthropic Committee, visit paducahfundraising.org.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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