Sweet, Sweet Charity
No one can doubt the good heart of the American people. With little prompting they have poured out their generosity to the families and communities devastated by the recent hurricanes. The big names and their shows have been merely icing on our national charity cake.
>From lemonade stands to fish fries, washing cars to mounting grand displays, the flood of contributions has been even more immense that the prayerful assistance given last year's tsunami victims in Southeast Asia. And why not?
Mother Nature's latest pain and suffering have been inflicted on our friends and families related by blood or simply love. In giving to survivors of Katrina and Rita we are giving to ourselves.
In a strange way it is easier to spread largesse among folks we don't know. We don't see their dirt, feel their sweat or smell their bad breath. They are symbols more than real human beings. Distance does that for us.
In a real sense An Evening on the Riviera manages the same sort of magical transformation within the community. Over the past 10 years people in party dresses and tuxedoes have eaten succulent dishes donated by some of the area 's finest restaurants, drunk sumptuous wine provided free by Maryland's socially conscious distributors and danced deliciously through the night while making life more livable for those not so fortunate.
How much? Well, Frederick charitable agencies and social services are $400,000 better off since the early October tradition started. Last year alone put over $80,000 in sometimes tattered pockets.
Neither founder Bob Rosensteel, nor any of his merry band of volunteers, takes a dime, as the U.S. government can testify. They sailed past a federal investigation prompted by some unknown malcontent. This one's as up and up as it can get.
And while tsunamis and hurricanes grab the headlines, Frederick's day-to-day needs have grown monstrously over the years. Ironically, as the local economy has boomed so has the number of citizens left behind, to grind out their daily existence amidst all the current prosperity.
So on Friday, October's first, greet a courteous chauffer at the Church Street parking garage; he'll take you up the hill behind the Francis Scott Key Mall to an enchanted chateau that passes the rest of the year as the Holiday Inn.
When midnight turns golden carriages into pumpkins again, your shiny black limousine will roll you back along Market Street to where you started out.
Have a great time knowing you're serving a great cause. How sweet An Evening on the Riviera really is. If only we can keep it around for another decade or two. That would be even sweeter. Especially for Frederick's charities.