Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball: Tickets for gala go on sale

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grand prix charity ballThe Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball, an evening gala held during race week, will allow guests to mingle with race personalities on Friday, April 16.

Drivers from the various series running during Long Beach’s race weekend will be on hand to meet the Charity Ball guests, typically race enthusiasts who savor the stories and experiences that only the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach can deliver. Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball guests will also enjoy live music from the Elm Street Band and an exceptional sit-down dinner prepared by The Westin Long Beach.

Partygoers will be able to participate in one of the largest local live auctions for a single prize, a chance to drive in the 2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. According to Grand Prix Foundation president, Rick DuRee, this year’s auction is expected to be the most competitive in years.

“Last year, Dave Pasant’s bid won him a spot in the 2010 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, and I’ve already heard from a number of bidders who’ve told me they want to race in 2011. In fact, thanks to all our Charity Ball and golf tournament supporters, last year we were able to distribute over $100,000 for Long Beach charities in what was one of the toughest economies. Giving back to our community is what this evening is all about.”

In addition to silent and live auction items, a race weekend Pace Car ride will be offered to a raffle winner with tickets starting at $25 each, or five for $100. The Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball has served as a cornerstone fundraising event for the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach, providing funds and support to select community non-profit organizations. This year’s Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball beneficiaries include Memorial Miller Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Long Beach Area Special Olympics and the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach Scholarship Fund.

Co-chairs of the Grand Prix Charity Ball Tom Bussa and Al Israel are promising a fun, festive evening.

“There’s nothing more elegant than the sheer speed and precision of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,” says Bussa. “The evening will be a fun tribute to the drivers, promoters, fans and volunteers who make race week possible. It’s a ‘can’t miss’ event for Long Beach.”

Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball will take place on Friday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at The Westin Long Beach. Ticket prices remain the same as last year’s rate of $150 per person or $1,200 for a table of eight, and can be ordered from the Grand Prix Foundation by phone at (562) 490-4509 or online at

The Grand Prix Foundation annually raises the money through its “Charity Days” events during the week of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Since its inception in 1991, the Foundation has contributed over $2 million to organizations representing a cross-section of the city’s charitable and civic community. Thanks to low administrative costs, over 90 cents of each dollar goes directly to the organizations selected by the Foundation’s 11-member Board of Directors.

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