What's up Doc?

YMCA to wine and dine guests WWII-style

Written by Amy Palser

Guests at this year’s Greater Wichita YMCA Wine & Dine will be toasting a heavy-metal celebrity.

The new B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center is the site of this year’s event, which means guests can tour the restored 1944 Superfortress and listen to big-band music. “The location is unique being at the Doc Hangar, so when guests arrive they can go inside Doc and get a little history,” said Hillary Alexander, associate VP of philanthropy for the Greater Wichita YMCA.

The 21-and-over event is Dec. 12, 5:30–9 p.m., at the hangar located adjacent to Eisenhower National Airport. The hangar was finished in November 2018 to house and maintain Doc, the World War II-era bomber that underwent a lengthy restoration project and began flying again in 2016. “The hangar backs up to the airport, and it has a really cool feel with planes taking off and landing,” Alexander said.

Upon arrival at the event, guests will receive a signature festive drink in a collectible wine glass. With 30 food and beverage vendors, there will be plenty of good things to eat and drink. An Around-the-World theme means multicultural tasty fare. “It will be a lot of good food, great drinks, and some things guests probably haven’t tried before. We’ve got some really good chefs. We’ll have a scotch-tasting area, Mexican-American food paired with margaritas, and traditional beer with burgers. It’s been fun partnering the different vendors together,” Alexander said.

The event isn’t your typical fundraising banquet where folks sit around tables, eat dinner and listen to a speaker. “The spirit of it is getting people together and talking about who we are and what we do,” said Sean Amore, associate VP of marketing and communications for the Greater Wichita YMCA. “We do have tables and chairs but we don’t have a plethora of them. The idea is to encourage people to mill around, look around, talk to different people and explore the food and drink options. It’s just a fun evening and a way to get people together — anyone, no matter if they’re a YMCA member or not.”

Proceeds from the event benefit the Greater Wichita YMCA Strong Community Campaign, which this year has a fundraising goal of about $3 million. “The YMCA is sort of perceived to be a health club first, where in reality we are a group dedicated to the wellness, fitness and health of our community,” Amore said. The YMCA’s mission-based programs for youth will directly benefit from the Wine & Dine event.

Among those missions are a free after-school program at every middle school in USD 259, a late-night gathering place for teenagers on Saturday nights at the north and south YMCA locations, free swimming lessons for every second-grader in the Greater Wichita YMCA area, and scholarships and financial assistance for early learning center attendees.

Greater Wichita YMCA serves about 40 communities in the south central Kansas area, including all of Wichita, Andover, El Dorado and Newton. YMCA programs serve all ages, from infancy to the older population.

Amore said having the event at the Doc hangar is not only unique, it fits the mission of the YMCA. “We see a correlation between Doc and the YMCA, which is celebrating the influence they have had on the community and the impact they continue to have.”

Wine & Dine for the Greater Wichita YMCA
Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30–9 p.m.
B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center
1788 S. Airport Road
Wichita, KS 67209

Tickets: $100 a person or $1,500 per table
To purchase tickets visit ymcawichita.org/WineAndDine, call 316.776.8812 or visit the welcome desk at any Greater Wichita YMCA location.

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