The purpose of the Bexley Education Foundation's annual BRAVO! event is to raise funds for programs that serve Bexley City School District students.

However, the event has also become a gathering place for friends, neighbors and former classmates, according to event organizers.

This year's BRAVO! will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. April 14 at St. Charles Preparatory School, 2010 E. Broad St.

BRAVO! provides an atmosphere for guests to eat and socialize while raising money for education programs, said Pamela Glasgow, the education foundation's executive director.

"It's become not only a school fundraiser but a community event," she said. "You get to have fun. At the same time, you get to support the schools."

Local residents and businesses have donated items for auction, including lunch at a Columbus fire station, day trips around Ohio, a week-long stay at a private residence in Martha's Vineyard and four grandstand passes to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. Arts and crafts provided by local students and artists also will be up for bid.

"Artwork created by students is the heart of the event," Glasgow said. "They really took off on the space-age theme."

Participants can browse the auction items online at 501auctions.com/Bravoforbexley. Mobile bidding opens Friday, April 6, one week before the event.

"Mobile bidding allows people to participate who can't attend," Glasgow said. "People can also plan their (in-person) shopping by going online."

BRAVO! will feature live music by the Big Rockin' Blues Band, food samples from more than a dozen local restaurants and a new drink tasting area.

The education foundation supports a range of learning initiatives, dispersing an average $100,000 in annual grants that now exceed a cumulative total of more than $5 million, Glasgow said.

"The foundation supports everything from technology to all areas of the arts," she said.

"We've been very successful in the past year in funding flexible-seating options for students. They can move around. If they're fidgety, they can sit on stools and stability balls. We've been able to equip all of the elementary schools with flexible-seating options. I think it's really benefitted the students," she said.

Event tickets are $60 each until Friday, April 6; $75 after that and at the door.

For more information, call 614-338-2093 or visit www.bexleyeducationfoundation.org.

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