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March of Dimes will showcase restaurants during fundraising auction

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Anna Ferguson at 770-963-9205, ext. 1308, or anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.

With so many outstanding restaurants in Gwinnett, Joe Saceric has difficulty pinpointing his favorite.

"I dunno, they're all so good," he said, taking a long pause to ponder the idea. "I really couldn't decide which is my favorite."

That's OK. He doesn't really need to pick just one, as a collection of the county's finest restaurants will be dishing out their goodies for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction.

Scheduled for Thursday at the Gwinnett Center, the auction is a fundraising effort for the Atlanta chapter of the March of Dimes, and will feature samplings of signature dishes from acclaimed Gwinnett restaurants, a live and silent auction, and entertainment from Grayson singer Nick Pallas.

Flowery Branch Yacht Club, 1818 Club, Kurt's, Little Gardens Restaurant and Sugo are among the dozens of diners slated to fill the Thomas Hughes Ballroom with offerings of their specialties.

"It's a great chance to plan out where you want to go for your holiday party. You know, get a head start on the holiday season," said Saceric, a coordinator for the event. "Plus, there are all these great restaurants you always want to try, but never do. Now, you can get a chance to sample them all and find a new favorite place."

Entrees aren't the only thing on the event menu. Proof of the Pudding caterers are planning a dessert demonstration and tasting, "Iron Chef"-style.

"Isn't that so cool? I thought that was such a great idea," Saceric said. "It's not just walking around eating all night. For dessert, you'll take a seat and be served. It's going to be a big production."

Once bellies are full, the auctions will begin. Among the items to be bid on are Hannah Montana tickets plus dinner and a limo ride, as well as jewelry from Tara Jewelers. Also up for grabs is a Patriotic Package, featuring a trip to Washington, D.C., including a tour of the White House, lunch with Congressman John Linder and two airline tickets.

Saceric assures the event will not be a stuffy, no-fun charity auction.

"It's not the same old 'flowers in vases, waiters with food, items on a block'-type auction," he said. "We've got a lot of fun surprises up our sleeves."

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs auction will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. Tickets are $150 per person. Call 678-546-0023 or visit www.marchofdimes.com/georgia.

Open Hand celebrates two decades of service

Nearly $200,000 was raised for Open Hand during Party in the Kitchen. The event, held Oct. 18, was a celebration of the organization's 20 years in service, and served as the debut of the organization's enlarged and updated kitchen. Founded in 1988 as a grassroots campaign, Open Hand works to provide nutritious, home-delivered meals to the sick and elderly. Visit www.projectopenhand.org.

Casino event ups the ante for Brian Jordan Foundation

Casino Royale 33 will be held at 6 p.m. today at St. Ives Country Club, 1 St. Ives Country Club Drive, Duluth. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Brian Jordan Foundation, an organization that builds and supports programs to help underprivileged children and their families. Call 404-588-9983.

Bonefish to host tasty fundraiser

Bonefish Grill will host a pre-opening, menu-tasting fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday at the new Buford location, 3420 Buford Drive near the Mall of Georgia. Tickets are $25 per person, and all proceeds will benefit Family Promise of Gwinnett County, a nonprofit, interfaith organization for families in transition.

The restaurant will open to the public on Nov. 11, and will be the second Bonefish location in Gwinnett. Call 678-376-8950 or visit www.familypromise.org or www.bonefishgrill.com.

Driving Magic festival will feature child art projects

The Driving Magic Fall Festival will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Precious Pets, 9 S. Peachtree St., Norcross. Driving Magic provides equine-assisted therapeutic and recreational programs for children and adults with disabilities. The festival will include children's artwork projects and a horse petting zoo. Call 770-416-7387 or visit www.usdfd.org/drivinghelp.

Wine South brings in funds for Angel Flight

This year's Wine South event raised more than $21,000 for Angels Flight Georgia, a nonprofit organization that provides free air transportation to and from treatment facilities for those with medical needs who are financially distressed or unable to travel on public transportation. Held Sept. 28-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center, the wine-tasting event drew 3,500 attendees and featured some 600 varieties of wine from around the world.