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by Larry Austin
The Grand Island Alumni Association will join with Aceti's Wine & Spirit to present Comedy Night Saturday, Jan. 24.
Money raised will support GIAA endeavors, such as scholarships for graduating seniors at Grand Island High School. Committee members Dick Crawford, Kim Kalman and Jodi Robinson are organizing the event with Sam Aceti, owner of Aceti's Wine & Spirits. Aceti said he's been a sponsor of the event for years, though initially he and his wife, Kim, were hesitant to back such events "because we felt the wine and liquor industry shouldn't be involved in any associations that have kids involved. But when I talked with Jodi, she said this type of event wasn't really for kids, it was actually for grownups to raise money for kids."
The Comedy Night has proven to be a great working relationship between the store and GIAA ever since, Aceti said.
"This year, we've gone one step higher and brought in somebody that's supposed to be a lot better than we've had in the past," Aceti said. The Comedy Night will feature Tyrone Davis (pictured), an up-and-coming comic from Detroit.
According to Robinson, the Grand Island Alumni Association's purpose is to promote the Grand Island spirit through educational and social events and its website. In doing so, the GIAA hopes to support the Grand Island Central School District and the community and its youth. The GIAA formed in 2003 and in 2008, started the Comedy Night. This is the eighth edition of the event. Aceti's became a platinum sponsor in 2009.
Supporting students is in keeping with the company culture, Aceti said.
"At Aceti's Wine & Spirits, we try to stay local and try to help the local community," he said. "We'll do whatever it takes to accommodate Grand Island residents. And I just thought this was the perfect thing for us to do and ever since then, it's been a win-win, I think, for everybody."
"The fun part of it is, it's a great night out. I love going out and listening to comedians and laughing my brains out. And it's small, it's quaint, so it's just a lot of fun, and we raise a lot of money."
Aceti said he hopes to see the event grow over time.
"I would love to eventually be able to bring in top-notch comedians, but we've got to crawl before we walk and walk before we run," he said. "And I know from the comedians that have been here in the past, (they) really like the atmosphere that they work in."
In addition to scholarships, the Grand Island Alumni Association has supported GIHS students by donating to the Senior Celebration every year. The club has presented more than $10,000 in scholarships during its history.
Members of the GIAA also organized the Friday Night Under the Lights event in September at their alma mater as the school district rededicated the newly refurbished Gene Masters Field.
The GIAA also purchased 50 yards of fence wrap for the new fencing along the home side at the field.
GIAA Committee members Crawford, Kalman and Robinson are looking for alumni to join them on the committee. Interested alumni can email [email protected].
The Grand Island Alumni Assoc. and Aceti's Wine & Spirits present the eighth annual Comedy Night Saturday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. at Ellden's Grill & Banquet at River Oaks.
Comedian Dan Pordum will emcee with comedian Tyrone Davis the headliner.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for refreshments. The event will include a wine raffle and a big-screen TV raffle.
Tickets are now available at Aceti's Wine & Spirits, 2156 Grand Island Blvd., and DeSignet Jewelry Store, 1869 Whitehaven Road.