What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but guests at Blue Mountain Health System's 14th Annual Gala will want to take home the prizes and memories of all the fun they had for a good cause.

The Casino Night Gala will be held Saturday, April 16 at Woodstone Country Club in Danielsville, Northampton County.

Organizers hope the event will raise $100,000 for the not-for-profit Blue Mountain Health System's Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton hospitals and the Summit at Blue Mountain Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

"It's a lofty goal, but we've gotten close in the past. Last year we brought in $89,000, and the year before we were right up against $91,000," said director of Fund Development Joseph Guardiani.

This year proceeds will be used to continue an ongoing patient room renovation project at all three facilities.

"We started this last year. Each room will probably be in the neighborhood of $5,000," he said. "So far, two rooms have been completed at the Gnaden Huetten campus and one at Palmerton. We've been doing the hallways. we've been painting and fixing up where we can as we can afford it."

Past galas have been elegant occasions. This year, for the first time, the gala will get a little wild and crazy.

"Normally, the gala has been a black tie event, where we have dinner and dancing almost like a wedding reception," Guardiani said.

"Although it was always very nice, the committee has decided to punch the theme up a little bit this year."

The Blue Mountain Health System's Gala Committee is "betting" that the urge to gamble is so universal and its practice so pleasurable, that health system supporters will be excited about becoming a part of their first ever "Casino Night Gala."

Organizers hope the casino theme will draw even more people.

Woodstone has expanded its facilities to allow up to 325 guests, Guardiani said. "In the past, we've been limited to 225."

"We're hoping that our guests will purchase at least an additional $2,500 in Blue Mountain Money Chips for $25 dollars during the evening. It's all part of the fundraising, so we'd like to see the room full of high rollers," he said.

The night will also feature a silent auction, with premier items that include a time share in Sedona, Arizona and jewelry items valued at $500 or more.

Guests can also take a chance on several baskets containing $75-$100 items donated by local businesses.

The event will include a champagne and hors d'oeuvres reception where this year's honorary co-chairmen, Dr. Ronald Stein and Dr. William Markson, will be recognized for their dedication to cardiac medicine and their patients, as well as for their generous donation of echocardiogram equipment for the health system.

A variety of gourmet food stations will be available throughout the evening while guests take their chances at the gaming tables.

Each guest will receive a complementary chip voucher in exchange for "Blue Mountain Money Chips," that will be used as the currency for the night.

"If you are apprehensive about not knowing how to play the games, our dealers will teach you the rules of each game offered, so our event is a great way to learn actual casino games while helping to support the local, community hospitals," Guardiani said.

Games will include poker, black jack, roulette, craps, slot machines, horse racing and other games of chance as well.

At the end of the evening, the Blue Mountain Money Chips will be cashed in for chances on the prizes that the committee has solicited from the community.

Gala committee members include Guardiani, Dr. Barbara Davis, Dr. Deborah Smith, Jeannine Siegmond, Romaine Biege, Kay DeMatte, Jennifer Roberti, Vicky Hanley, Susan Strauss, Lois Richards, Allison Long, Denise Kennedy, Sherill Hoover, Alicia Shutack-Silliman, Sylvia Goral, Patty DeSousa and Lisa Johnson.

Tickets for the event are available by contacting the Office of Fund Development at (610) 377-7350 or e-mail Guardiani atjguardiani@blmtn.org [1].