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Kids win at NAIAS Charity Preview gala

Miss Michigan USA Kristen Danyal looks beautiful at Charity Preview. (Credit: NAIAS)

DETROIT–The Friday night gala at the Cobo Center for the 2012 North American International Auto Show raised $3 million for children’s charities and kids’ programs in Southeast Michigan. Music, lights, celebrities, dancing, beverages and food, beautifully garbed crowds — all against a backdrop of fabulous cars.

Julian Pavone, the world's youngest drummer, performs at Charity Preview. (Credit: NAIAS)

Charity Preview, Detroit’s premier black-tie gala, was made possible by Charter One, part of the RBS group. The event is widely regarded as the largest single night fundraiser in North America, according to NAIAS publicity. NAIAS also reported that ticket sales as of show time were up 20 percent over last year, reaching the 12,000-ticket goal.

The gala brought out local, regional, national and international luminaries, including Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, U.S. Representatives Sander and Carl Levin, John Dingell, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chief of Police Ralph Godbee, the Detroit City Council, General Motors’ Dan Akerson and Mark Ruess, Ford Motor Company’s Alan Mulally, Chrysler Group’s Pietro Gorlier, Audi North America’s Johan de Nysschen and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.’s Jim Lentz.

A couple enjoys Champagne and the Chevrolet Miray Concept Car. (Credit: NAIAS)

If you like mind-blowing statistics, you’ll like these: The black-tie crowd was served 4,200 bottles of champagne, 1,000 lbs. of beef tenderloin, 20,000 bottles of wine, 35,000 bottles of beer from the Detroit Beer Company, 1,200 lbs. of shrimp and 2,100 lbs. of deli meat. Some 500 limos filled the streets and 378 cans of hair spray held it all together.

Proceeds from the event that mixed glamour and everything automotive go to support vital services for children of all ages in the Detroit metro area. Since 1976 the NAIAS Charity Preview has raised over $87 million for southeast Michigan children’s charities — over $36 million of which was raised in the last seven years alone.