‘The Greatest Night Out on Earth’

Lexington holds annual fundraiser

The band Flame performs at Lexington's Greatest Night Out on Earth on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Lexington Foundation’s fourth annual Night Out celebratory fundraising gala on Thursday turned into the Greatest Night Out on Earth as the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts was transformed into a circus tent.

The Paul Nigra building was crawling with circus performers of all sorts and with performances throughout the night. The tallest man glided past attendees throughout the building as acrobats and flame throwers captured everyone’s attention outside the circus tent.

The foundation’s gala was held to benefit the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and the Elmore Transitions Scholarship Fund.

“It is absolutely different, over-the-top way to raise funds,” said Pat Beck, an attendee. “I don’t think that our area has seen something like this.”

Throughout the night, several businesses and individuals were honored for their contributions towards Lexington and the arts center. Being honored were Assemblyman Marc Butler, Jack Scott and Shirley Scott of WENT Radio, Century Linen and the late Brian Hanaburgh.

Pat Beck, left, and Kathy Marshall, right, enjoy Lexington's Greatest Night Out on Earth on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart said Butler has been a supporter of Lexington for the last 23 years.

“Since 1995, Marc Butler has served as an assemblyman and throughout that time Marc has strongly advocated for men, women and children with disabilities,” said Shaloni Winston, CEO and executive director.

“What a wonderful gift and opportunity this is for me to represent Fulton County for 23 years,” Butler said. “I want to tell you, when you’re in that position, you have choices. Who you can help, who you can support and I want to tell you Lexington was always high on my list.”

Jack and Shirley Scott have also been “wonderful” supporters, Hart said.

“Jack and Shirley personally supported Lexington and when the opportunity arose, Jack will share support and advocate for Lexington via their radio station WENT,” Winston said. “Their acceptance and encouragement of services for people of all abilities has been a great support over their 32 years at WENT.”

Circus performers are shown at Lexington's Greatest Night Out on Earth Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

Jack Scott said Lexington has been their most “vital” interest since arriving in Fulton County.

“The innovation, creation, the community service, [and] the jobs they provide,” he said.

Hart said Century Linen hires people whom the foundation supports to work in their business.

“That’s important to us because employment for people with disabilities is a high priority and finding jobs for people with disabilities is challenging,” Hart said. “We are really grateful to Century Linen because they have been a partner with us for over 20 years.”

Winston said Century Linen was chosen as employer of the year as a statewide honor for “demonstrating outstanding commitment and support in providing meaningful employment and acceptance of individuals with intellectual and other development disabilities in the workforce.”

Circus performers, Dan Chapin, left, and Todd Simonds, right, for Lexington's Greatest Night Out on Earth Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

Lastly being honored was Hanaburgh, who died in May. Hart said he served on the advisory board for 25 years.

“He was instrumental in helping us develop these two projects — the Nigra Arts Center and Transitions — because we’ve never done anything like this before. Brian was a businessman in the community who really asked us the questions any business would ask. He was just wonderful,” Hart said.

Winston said Hanaburgh was the kind of person who took charge and responsibility to make things happen.

“He supported us, but he didn’t just support us. He was the successful businessman. So he grilled us, he questioned every number, he questioned all our projections and hours and hours we did that, and he helped us and he supported us and guided us,” Winston said. “I don’t know that if what you saw today would exist had it not been for Brian’s support, guidance and helping us.”

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