Ocean City Today

Believe in Tomorrow’s annual gala in Ocean City, Saturday

By Kara Hallissey | Apr 05, 2018
Each year, Believe in Tomorrow gives out its “Hero by the Sea” award. Igor Conev, vice president of Mann Properties in Ocean City, will be honored at the gala this year.

(April 6, 2018) The 17th annual Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House by the Sea gala will take place this Saturday at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront on 67th Street.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. in the second floor ballroom of the hotel with a cocktail party kicking off festivities and music by Joe Smooth and Remy.

“After 16 years, we are changing it up a little bit this year with an upscale dine-around in the lobby followed by a sit-down Italian dinner from Touch of Italy,” said Wayne Littleton, coordinator for the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Respite Housing Program. “It is my favorite event. We have families who come to tell their stories and you really get to see what we do.”

During the two-hour cocktail party, guests can munch on tenderloin sliders with a choice of sauces from Longboard Café. Sunset Grille will have a raw bar selection complete with oysters, shrimp and ahi tuna. Seacrets will offer its famous jerk chicken, and there will be a chocolate fountain.

Touch of Italy will feature its antipasti and pizza appetizers in addition to a mozzarella maker who will stuff the fresh cheese with olives or Italian meats right in front of guests’ eyes.

“Sunset Grille’s Buddy Trala and Rick Vach at Longboard Café were eager to participate,” Littleton said. “It is a beautiful evening. I feel like out of everything we do, this night is a true representation of what the Children’s House does.”

Guests can look forward to salad, lasagna and meatballs from Touch of Italy for dinner.

Sweet Disposition is slated to provide desserts, and there will be complimentary beer and wine.

“Touch of Italy will also have table desserts,” Littleton said.

Tickets to the black-tie optional event generally cover gala expenses, which makes the activities and auction vital to the organization.

This year, attendees can purchase mystery boxes or a diamond in the cupcake sponsored by Park Place Jewelers. For $10, participants will receive a gift card or jewelry inside the mystery box. In addition, they could take home 14-karat white gold sapphire and diamond earrings valued at $500, a 14-karat gold and sterling silver bracelet or two tickets to the Believe in Tomorrow Beach Bash while enjoying a cupcake for $10 as well.

There will also be an ice luge with Seacrets spirits and two silent auctions, which will cost $5 and $25 per ticket respectively, with sports memorabilia, restaurant gift cards, baskets, beauty products and weekend getaways. DJ Juan is slated to spin the tunes.

David and Daniel Neith, who have visited Ocean City many times through the Believe in Tomorrow program, will be the guest speakers.

“David will talk about his experiences here through the eyes of a child and then his father will speak,” Littleton said. “David was one of our prom kings in 2016 and I thought the two perspectives would be neat.”

Each year, Believe in Tomorrow gives out its “Hero by the Sea” award. Igor Conev, vice president of Mann Properties in Ocean City, will be honored at the gala this year.

David “Bulldog” Rothner, an on-air personality from Ocean 98.1 FM WOCM, is slated to emcee and present the award to Conev.

“We are very happy to give it to Igor,” Littleton said. “He exemplifies the person we look for when we give out this award. He constantly does everything for us, has a good heart and is a very special person in the community.”

Littleton said Conev chairs the Believe in Tomorrow’s golf classic, which is in its 10th year and averages anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000 for the Ocean City nonprofit every spring.

“He does a lot for the Children’s House and is a major force behind many projects,” Littleton said. “He is an amazing person and he deserves all the recognition.”

Conev has helped with replacing the deck and railings at the Children’s House on 66th Street, in addition to advising with the new property acquired on 65th Street, Littleton said.

“I don’t really deserve it. I give my time and make phone calls to the many friends we have in the community. I am just the middle-man,” Conev said. “The credit should go to those who give donations. It is a tremendous honor to join the group who have received this honor before me.”

To end the evening, Littleton will announce the raffle winner, which costs $50 a chance. Only 100 tickets are sold and someone will take home $2,500.

“If we sell out the first set, we might do a second, but there will be two winners,” Littleton said. “We will announce the winning number instead of names this year. That way no one knows who the winner is and if you want to make a donation, it is all behind the scenes.”

The Michael G. Mann Foundation and the Ocean City Elks Lodge #2645 are the title sponsors of the gala this year. Pete’s Cycle, the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club, Avery Hall Insurance, Vogt & Associates and Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance are also sponsoring the event.

The facility on 66th Street is open year-round to provide a free getaway to the beach for critically ill children and their families whenever they may need to escape the stresses of their child’s illness.

In addition, another location was acquired on 65th Street and will serve military pediatric families and larger families that may require the assistance of medical support or extended family support because of their child’s illness and end-of-life circumstances with the inclusion of grandparents, aunts, uncles and special friends, in the near future.

The Believe in Tomorrow Gala by the Sea will take place Saturday, from 5:30-10:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront on 67th Street.

Only 200 tickets will be sold and the cost is $75 per person or $150 per couple. As of Tuesday, tickets still remained, but the event does sell out every year. For more information or to buy tickets or donate, call Littleton at 410-723-2842.

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