Wonderland comes to EL

EAST LIVERPOOL – White rabbits and red hearts were the hot accessories at the East Liverpool Motor Lodge on Saturday, as the East Liverpool City Hospital Auxiliary hosted its Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Luncheon.

The organization holds one major fundraising event each year, according to Mary lou Visnic, auxiliary president. She says the idea for this year’s “Alice in Wonderland” theme came from an auxiliary board member and was developed by Francesca Muscari, owner of The Last Tango arts and crafts shop in Calcutta.

Visnic thanked Muscari for helping bring the idea to fruition with the decorations, table centerpieces and other resources she supplied. “She’s just got a great imagination,” Visnic said.

Visnic also had praise for her auxiliary colleagues who worked long hours selling tickets, donated items for the Chinese auction and the like. “We all pulled together to make this a great event,” she said. “Our volunteers are a great group of ladies dedicated to helping the hospital, patients and visitors.”

Several attendees said they were impressed with what they found upon entering “Wonderland.”

“I think it’s beautifully done. They’ve really worked very hard,” Linda Salvaterra of Niles said of the event, who was impressed with decorations that evoked the court of the Queen of Hearts. She was part of a group of eight ladies who made the trip from Trumbull County for the occasion.

Also in attendance, not in themed attire like many guests but in her Marine uniform, was Private Melanie Nalette of East Liverpool, who recently returned home from training at Parris Island, S.C. She was surprised by her grandmother, Cheryl Nalette-Taylor, who got tickets for the two of them. “I was at boot camp when she bought the tickets.”

Nalette says she enjoyed the event, which she called, “Just a day with my grandma.” Nalette-Taylor agreed, saying she felt this was a fun way for them to spend time together before Melanie has to return for more training, then deployment. “She’s my only granddaughter,” Nalette-Taylor said.

Visnic says she is very encouraged by the response, having anticipated 120 reservations, but receiving 170. “It just kept getting bigger and bigger,” she said. “It was overwhelming.”