Local gala hopes for sellout

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By Laurel Young
Reo Town Reporter

This could be your last chance to buy a prom dress or tuxedo and dance until the wee hours of the morning. This is your chance to watch a pageant and a burlesque show in the same night.

On March 21 from 8p.m.-2a.m. Foliage Design Systems in REO Town will host the second annual REO Town Thrift Store Gala and Burlesque Extravaganza!

Ryan Wert, a local recording studio owner and president of the Reo Town Commercial Association, is the creator and planner of the event.

He came up with the idea for the Extravaganza! because he and his friends were “looking for an excuse to wear the tuxedos, prom dress, and fur coats that are always available” in thrift stores.

Entertainment for the night will be provided by a wide variety of local musicians, comedians, dancers, a magician and others.

This year’s event will also include a pin-up pageant between each performing act. Ten pre-selected women will compete in the pageant.

After meeting Autumn Luciano, who books most of the local burlesque shows, he decided to add in the burlesque aspect of the night.

The event will have a full bar provided by Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale, a Lansing-based microbrewery, and food from the Good Truckin’ Diner’s food truck.

“I started the studio a little over 10 years ago and got involved in the commercial association about eight years ago,” Wert said. “As I got more involved in REO Town stuff, I went from helping out with other folks’ endeavors to starting my own.”

Wert was originally the treasurer of the REO TCA before becoming its president about a year ago.
Wert said last year’s Extravaganza! went over well. For this year’s event, the main focus was to make the entertainment portion bigger and more diverse.

“I can promise there will be something for everyone at some point in the evening,” Wert said.

Last year’s event had around 200 attendees Wert said. This year he is hoping for 250 to 300 guests, which is about all the venue can hold.

“Based on our ticket sales so far, and we’re still three weeks out, I think we’ll probably sell out,” Wert said.

“I think this event is a unique thing for Lansing, and it really captures the spirit of the people of REO Town,” Wert said. “It’s lighthearted, fun, and a little bit self-deprecating.”

Tickets for the REO Town Thrift Store Gala and Burlesque Extravaganza can be purchased for $10 at thriftstoregala.com, Good Truckin’ Diner and the REO Town Pub. Tickets at the door are $15 according to the event’s Facebook page.

All proceeds for the event go towards the REO TCA.

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