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The Great Foodini set to emcee Denim & Diamonds

LACASA Center’s Denim & Diamonds fall fundraising event, set for Saturday, Sept. 13, will be a dazzling evening of acrobatic horse shows, spinning roulette wheels, sizzling barbecue cooking, and kickin’ country-rock music.

The emcee for this Western-style party is Renee Chodkowski, the Great Foodini. She is a self-described “foodie” who is known on the national and local food-show scenes. Chodkowski will bring her authentic wit to the event and make surprise announcements throughout the night as the nonprofit works to earn $50,000 in challenge grants.

Two private foundations have challenged the community to help LACASA exceed its fundraising goal for this event. The foundations issuing the match-grant challenges are the Wheeler Family Foundation and the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation.

All ticket sales and guest spending at the event are being matched by the foundations and will have twice the impact for victims and survivors of child abuse and interpersonal violence.

Denim & Diamonds is set on the spectacular ranch of Gwen Haggerty-Bearden and Steven Bearden on Country Farm Road in Howell.

Guests at this jeans-preferred fundraiser enjoy an evening of equestrian shows, Wild West gambling, down-home cooking, wine and beer, live music, line dancing, fun around the bonfire, gourmet s’mores bar, and a variety of smokin’ activities.

Brighton’s Downtown Martini Bar & Grille will be serving up S’mores Martinis and Brunner’s Restaurant is providing a down-home, country barbecue spread.

Kari Holmes and The Modern Day Drifters will bring it all night long with spirited country-rock originals and favorites.

A Dazzling Diamond Raffle features an exquisite multi-carat necklace sponsored by Cooper & Binkley Jewelers of Brighton.

Guests can stroll the Calico General Store for gifts and gear created by local artisans. Cowboys and cowgirls may saddle-up to the Rattlesnake Saloon for specialty cocktails, cigars, and cool concoctions around the Sassafras ice luge.

Denim & Diamonds kicks off at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. with a grand-finale fireworks display. Tickets are $100 and include parking, valet wagon rides to event central, dinner, beer and wine, gambling loot starter kit, and an evening of entertainment.

To learn more about the event, visit or contact Kristine Masters, LACASA special event coordinator, at 517-548-1350 or email

LACASA Center is an independent nonprofit and is not affiliated with a national parent agency. The organization depends on individual donations from members of the community. All contributions stay local.

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