Aloha! Mint Hill

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Aloha! Mint Hill, organized to support the Gammon family, was a roaring success!

With only three weeks’ planning time, the event’s organizers, Jessica Wilde, Julie Burgess, Nellie Johnston, Emma Wilson and Rhonda Schofield, were hoping to draw in 500 people.  However, the kids games, vendors, food trucks, raffle, silent auction and, most of all, the Polynesian Fire Show, brought quadruple that amount – up to 2500 people! – to Queen’s Grant Community School’s campus.

“The food trucks and vendors drew people in, the free kid’s area was great for families, but the highlight was the authentic Polynesian music, dancing and fire show,” said Burgess.  “It was unforgettable!”

The Polynesian fire show that took place at the end of the night was the highlight of the event.

Set up between Queen’s Grant’s playgrounds and the school building were a variety of vendors.  There were big-name businesses like All American Gutter Protection and Chick-Fil-A as well as arts and crafts retailers like Whitney’s Art Spot and Cindy’s Creations and direct sales companies like DoTerra and Lularoe.  Guests enjoyed dinner from Walking Taco, KO, Flame ‘n Fury Grill, and Ole Buddy’s Oinker Express. Sweet treats were available from Pelican’s SnoBalls, Mama’s Kettle Corn, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Kids enjoyed free games and funny photo opportunities.

Behind the school, kids enjoyed Hawaiian-themed games like “Ring around the Flamingo,” “Volcano Alley,” and “Go Fish.”  There was also free face painting, balloon animals and photo-booth type backdrops.

The event featured free face painting for kids.

“We ate at the food trucks, bought raffle tickets and played all the games,” said Ellee Wallace, a Queen’s Grant parent who heard about the event through the school and wanted to show her support for the Gammon family.  “The Polynesian dancers and the Aloha theme made it a really fun night for the whole family.”

Kids got in on the action, learning to hula with the Polynesian dancers.

“The kids played the Ring Toss, Volcano and Fishing games,” said Emily D’Elia, who learned about the event through Facebook and was drawn in by the promise of the fire show.  “We ate at the sausage food truck and had dessert at Nothing Bundt Cake. Then we watched the show. I thought the event was very well advertised and planned. The fire show was something new and different for us and it was interesting to see the dances from different cultures.”

The stage featured music and dancing all night.

One of the other highlights of the night was the raffle and silent auction to benefit the Gammon family.  “Thanks to the kindness and generosity of the businesses and families in our community, we were able to put together some really fun packages!” said Burgess.  “The ‘Family Fun Package’ included tickets to Kate’s Skate, an escape room, Monkey Joe’s, Urban Air, and the Mint Hill Barber Shop. We auctioned off everything from a bearded dragon complete with cage and veranda seats to a NASCAR race to a custom made tiki cake.”

The raffle and auction played a large part in the fundraising aspect of the event.  Aloha! Mint Hill raised over $8000 for the Gammons, money that will help to relieve some of the family’s considerable medical expenses accrued in Damon’s battle against Adrenocortical Carcinoma.

Aloha! Mint Hill was more than just a fundraiser; it was also a party for Damon and a way to show the whole family that Mint Hill supports them.  “The Gammon family was able to attend and were overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support from the school and the community,” said Burgess. “Damon loved the show and had a hard time believing that everything he was seeing was put together for him.”

Those who wish to continue their show of support for Damon can do so by bringing some of that same “Aloha spirit” into their everyday lives.  “Continued acts of service and kindness for others would bring a lot of joy to the Gammon family,” said Burgess. “#DoItForDamon is a reminder for us to share the love we felt, as we came together as a community, with everyone we meet.”  Those wishing to donate monetarily can visit

With such a great turnout and overwhelming community response, you may be wondering: will we see another Aloha! Mint Hill in the future?  “It would be awesome to see more events like this in our community!” said Burgess. “The many volunteers and countless hours that went into planning Aloha Mint Hill in just three weeks time was nothing short of a miracle. When you find an opportunity to serve a family as wonderful as the Gammons, you make it happen. Damon’s faith and courage was the fuel that kept us going.”

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: