Dressing up for a cause: Childhood Characters for Fundraiser (PHOTOS)

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Bob and Leah McGill were dressed as Bert the Chimney Sweep and Mary Poppins for the 4th Annual Celebrity Servers Fundraiser for Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.

Bonefish Grill looked like a miniature Disney World Wednesday with the likes of Woody, Mary Poppins and Elsa mingling in and out of the lunch crowd.

The characters were local figureheads taking part in the 4th annual Celebrity Servers fundraising event for Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s program, All Kinds of Art.

“We are working to bring art programs and enrichment into the classroom,” said Marcia Hull, chief executive officer for MKAF. “It’s important to infuse our children with arts and culture at a young age.”

Hull told The Log that the serving event is by far one of the most popular fundraisers of the year for the foundation, bringing in an average of $12,000 for local school art and enrichment programs.

“Through our programs we’ve inspired 265,000 kids in over 57 schools in Okaloosa and Walton County,” said Hull.

 Costumed local celebrities where a bit hard to recognize, such as City Manager Greg Kisela who was disguised as Jonny Depp’s version of the Mad Hatter; complete with an orange wig, and white face paint.

Husband and wife team Bob and Leah McGill love the event so much they were appearing for a second time, last year they were Popeye and Olive Oil, and this year the two were decked out as Mary Poppins and Bert the Chimney Sweep.

“Last year we raised the most money with $3,000 for the event so this year we are pulling out all the stops,” said Leah.

To encourage donations the McGills had set up a ‘Kite Shop,’ in the corner of the restaurant with vintage Mary Poppins paraphernalia, small kites, and even a tin for tuppins.

“If you feed the birds you get cheese straws,” said Leah. “I’ve had a lot of fun putting this together; I love a theme.”

At the close of the event, Greg Kisela was voted by his serving peers as best costume, and Rhonda Murry was crowned top celebrity server for obtaining highest donations.

“We applaud the celebrity servers and attendees who generously contributed to our education mission,” said Hull in a press release. “All Kinds of Art serves children in Okaloosa and Walton counties, including our new partnerships with Emerald Coast Autism Center and United Way agencies that reach low income and at risk students where we can make the greatest impact with cultural experiences.”   

For more photos of the event CLICK HERE

The 14 local celebrity servers were:

Rhonda Murray of Emerald Coast Magazine as Strawberry Shortcake

Nathanel Fisher of Emerald Coast Theatre Company as Woody

Wanda Peterson, MKAF Volunteer as The Lady Bug Girl (Lulu)

Alexis Tibbets of Walton County School District as The Cat-in-the-hat

Nancy Grigsby of Fresenius Medical Careas Fancy Nancy

Kathy Schumacher, Local Artist as Little Red Riding Hood

Jennifer Esses of Women and Children First as Elsa

Greg Kisela of the city of Destin as The Mad Hatter

Leah McGill, English Teacher at DMS as Mary Poppins

Bob McGill of McGill Title and Escrow as Bert the Chimney Sweep

Paul Schreiner, MKAF Board of Director as Paul Bunyan

Rhonda Davenport of United Way as Raggity Anne

Peter Mohylsky, Destin Exclusive Real Estate as Peter Pan

Robin Cannon Local Artist and MKAF Festival of the Arts Poster Winner as Pinocchio