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The expansive lawn, jazz filled spring air, and over 100 reality television stars set a surreal scene at Wilson Creek during Reality Rally 2014’s Casino Night Fundraiser. In a progressive party, the Reality Television stars met and mingled with the crowd of local fans to sign autographs, pose for photographs, and enjoy each other’s company with local flavors, tidbits, and delectable Wilson Creek wines.
The who’s who included a local fave, Chopper — a pug who loves to both ride his motorcycle, and kiss the ladies. Along with him, several other stars and local faces lit up the scene.
Captured’s James Wallington palled around with his fellow Captured partners in crime, talking of their mutual agreement to be the “nice” teams on the show.
“We decided it was for the best, and look at us know. Still friends.” Wallington said. Of the event, “We’re having so much fun. We’ve learned so much about Michelle’s Place and why we’re here. It’s great to be involved.”
Reality Stars seemed to have as much, if not more fun, photographing, instagramming each other, as they blew off travel steam and shared traffic woes before Saturday’s “Main Event.”
Local supporters, including Rusty Manning of A Grape Escape, who took the Thousand Dollar Club earners up in a Friday morning balloon ride. “It was great fun, seeing them all enjoy themselves when they’ve done so much to get here.” Manning said.
Liza Stinton, top earner for 2014’s Reality Rally, thoroughly enjoyed herself on the hot air balloon ride over Temecula. “It was truly a bucket list experience.”
Survivor’s Artis Sylvester ambled the crowd, shaking hands and talking to fans, but what he was really looking forward to? “I love the race. Tomorrow will be awesome. I’m looking forward to it.”
Both locals and celebs were greeted with fanfare by some of the more than 500 volunteers running these events in and around Temecula. On hand to rub elbows and enjoy the evening were local business owner Lea Roberts of Primal Cravings, and Marilyn Tipps, director of Sales for Primal Cravings.
Meanwhile culinary treats were set up at tables in banquet fare. P. F. Changs, Pat and Oscars, Tropical BBq, and more treated all to delicacies such as New Life Catering’s Jeff Kirkland and Steve Berse “Ahi tuna shooters.” Fresh, succulent, with the zip of jalapeno heat, ideal finger food for the crowd.
Survivor’s Richard Hatch has attended Reality Rally as a participant for 4 years running. “It’s wonderful to see how this event has grown and grown up over the years.” Stated Hatch. “(Reality Rally) has truly taken on a life of its own. I participate in many events across the country, but this one is a real, tangible cause, reminding us that we are the lucky ones.”
The full complement of local celebrities were also on hand, including Cupcake Wars’ winner Andrea Maue. In her traditional way, Maue provided frozen banana cheesecake pops, dipped in chocolate and rolled with crushed walnuts. “I love to provide desserts at every Reality Rally. It’s such a worthy event, I love giving back for all that Gillian Larson does.”
Xiomara Hall was on hand with her traditional Jamaican Barbecue Jerk Chicken — only this being Friday in Lent, she served a zippy macaroni dish. “It’s a crazy day, and important for so many reasons. Being a single mother, I have to miss some things in order to be present for others. I’m so glad to be here, and share my food, meet and hang out with so many amazing people. “Hall said.
Inside the banquet facilities at Wilson Creek, Casino night reigned the evening. In the background, jazz strains of local Vaughn D. Fahie’s saxophone set the tone for the party.
With gaming tables set around the room, stars and fans stood shoulder to shoulder, playing craps, cards, and enjoying the party vibe.
In the crowd, Reality Rally volunteers took the moment to revel in all that they created. With the information guru, Cindi Beaudet — General Manager of the Temecula Cemetery District, paused to pose with her reality show favorite, Elvis Strange.
Strange, just a few days out from an accident in Los Angeles, where the car he was riding in was hit by a drunk driver, was grateful to be here, attending. “I’m not able to race,” said Strange, “but being here to support the cause, that’s what really means something.
“Once again, it’s going to be an amazing weekend,” said Michelle’s Place Executive Director, Kim Goodnough. “We are truly grateful to Gillian Larson, and all of the stars who have come in for the event.”