Thrasher gala unrolls red carpet

Opera house fund-raiser will feature movie-premiere  theme Saturday, Sept. 17

Thrasher Opera House Executive Director Maria Dietrich, left, pretends to be paparazzi as Development Director Rachael Avery strikes a celebrity-worthy pose on the red carpet.    Hannah Tetzlaff photo

by Hannah Tetzlaff

Johnny Cash, Sonny and Cher among other celebrities are making an appearance Saturday, Sept. 17 at Thrasher Opera House’s 16th-annual Party for the Arts: Premiere Night.

The movie premiere-themed fund-raiser, which begins at 6 p.m., illustrates the community’s love and support for the arts while emphasizing the Thrasher’s importance.

With this year’s new theme, community members can dress up as their favorite celebrity or T.V. twosome and strut their stuff down the opera house’s red carpet as the paparazzi snaps some photos.

“I heard a rumor that Johnny Cash is coming, perhaps Sonny and Cher … I think those are the only confirmed celebrities that I know,”  Thrasher Development Director Rachael Avery said, adding she hopes somebody comes dressed as Lady Gaga as well.”There will be some good ones, though.”

Awards for best-dressed celebrity man, woman and couple will be handed out at the Hollywood affair and may appear similar to Oscar trophies.

According to Avery and Executive Director Maria Dietrich, guests do not have to get in touch with their inner celebrity to attend.

“It’s perfectly fine for people to not dress according to the theme,” Dietrich said. “The important thing is that they’re going to come and have fun and support the Thrasher.”

The event’s theme is due largely to the opera house’s first promotional video, which will début at the gala.

“It is a premiere night,” Avery said. “We are premiering our Thrasher video sort of in the middle part of the evening, which will be the first time anybody sees that. We are excited for that.”

Dietrich added the promo was created to illustrate the importance of the opera house and its positive influence on the community.

“It’s a … short video for the opera house in which we’re trying to give a little taste of what it’s like to come to an event at the Thrasher, why it’s worth supporting and why it’s worth coming to,” she said. “A few of us were interviewed for the video [and] performer Jimmy Webb did an extensive interview.”

Dietrich and Avery noted the video wouldn’t have been possible without creator/director Nate Lehner, owner of ClearView Productions LLC.

Besides the short promotional movie, Thasher guests will enjoy more food options and a rockabilly band.

“It’s a bigger party this year,” Avery said. “We’ve really been trying to make it a bigger event hence the more food and restaurants participating. The band has never been here before, so that will be a new exciting addition.”

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With champagne in one hand and a VIP sign in the other, Rachael Avery embodies Thrasher Opera House’s Party for the Arts movie-premiere theme. Hannah Tetzlaff photo

Dietrich added in past years, Thrasher had only three restaurants at the fund-raising gala and it has more than tripled that number this year, with 10 eateries from around the Green Lake area.

Instead of a band created from members and supporters of the opera house, The Kevin Fayte Rock’ N’ Roll Trio from Oshkosh will provide music.

Other highlights of the movie premiere gala are the raffles, live auction, cork pull and chocolate chance.

Cork pull consists of a variety of wines and growlers from Knuth Brewing Co., costing $30. There are 30 drinks and each comes with a number. Once the drinks are bought, the hosts pull a number and the winner receives a piece of jewelry from Diedrich Jewelers.

Chocolate chance is the same concept, but with boxes of chocolates, and the prize is jewelry from Gysbers Jewelry.

Though Thrasher gala offers a host of events and activities, Avery is eager to witness everyone’s surprise and joy when they see the gala.

“I look forward to seeing how excited people are when they walk in and see the place decorated and see everything put together,” she said. “It’s my first year being in charge of it.”

For Dietrich, the best part is when people from all over the community gather together and share their love for the Thrasher Opera House.

Avery and Dietrich invite everyone — whether they be celebrities or not — to the Party for the Arts: Premiere night and advise people to buy their tickets soon as there is limited space and only 150 tickets available.

To RSVP and buy tickets call the Thrasher office at 920-294-4279 or go online at