BY MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY Rich Nadeau and Charlie Ferguson don’t mind being called a celebrity couple as long as it’s for a good cause.
The “grumpy old men” of local radio fame teamed up outside the studio to put their stamp on the Celebrity DreamRoom Classic (couples edition), a fundraiser for Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan.
The event, from 5:30-9 p.m. today at Golden-Fowler Home Furnishings, pits five area couples against each other to show off and earn votes for their “dream rooms” created with furnishings from the Golden-Fowler floor and items from their personal collections.
“Ours is based on two grumpy old guys,” said Nadeau, half of Fox Music Radio's "The Grumpy Old Men" morning show team. “Charlie imbibes in alcohol, I nap on the couch with my dogs."
The pair's grumpy old bachelor pad boasts "Charlie's Bar," a den area with recliner pitched to assist its occupant in getting up, and a bedroom with crocheted afghan, plaid-flannel robes and “false teeth” floating in a jar. Racing memorabilia and Ferguson's cats, Spook and Smoke, also figure into the decor.
"Charlie and I are big motorheads. We love fast cars, we love motorcycles," Nadeau said. "The picture is of us racing each other at (Northern Michigan) Dragway."
The couples created their rooms over several weeks with the help of Golden-Fowler staff, said store owner-manager Mike Mahn, who is putting on the fundraiser for the third straight year. Other designing couples include Chris and Julie Warren, Joe and Sarah Charlevoix, Ed and Joyce Downing, and Tim Nelson and Nancy Johnson.
Nelson and Johnson's room is dominated by a life-size stuffed buffalo nicknamed Chip. Nelson is president of Northwestern Michigan College, known for its annual buffalo barbecue.
“Every day we do something a little more over the top in each room,” said Mahn, a long-time advocate of Child and Family Services, which offers support to families through foster care, adoption, counseling and other programs.
He said attendees of the event may come for the cause but they'll likely stay for the fun. Each room will boast live music and interactive entertainment that complement its overall theme, such as a hula hoop contest and jazz piano performances by David Chown in the Warrens' '60s-style "Mad Men" room. Local meteorologist Joe Charlevoix's nautical-theme room will include a green screen against which attendees can try their luck at "forecasting" area wind, waves and other weather.
Besides Northern Latitudes Distillery's Mackinac Island Fudge Liqueur and Apollo Horseradish Vodka at Charlie's Bar, food and libations include wine from Black Star Farms, craft beer from Right Brain Brewery, chocolates from Grocer's Daughter Chocolates, salsa and hummus from Natural Northern Foods, smoked meats from Deering's Market & Deli, olive twists from Amical and pesto cheese torta from Hooper's Farm Gardens.
Then there's the Chairs for Children silent auction of one-of-a-kind upholstered chairs painted by area fine artists Kaye Krapohl, Jenny Prahl, Lisa Schulte, Rufus Snoddy and Paul Welch, door prizes and, of course, voting to give your favorite designer couple bragging rights for a year.
"You can buy as many poker chips as you can hold for 50 bucks and vote for your favorite dream rooms," said Gina Aranki, marketing and public relations director for Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. Just toss one or more chips at $1 each, singly into jars located at the entrance of each room.
Aranki calls the come-as-you-are fundraiser an ideal Valentine's Day "date night" to help raise money for the agency's Elements program, which provides independent living skills for youth from ages 14 to 21 who are preparing to transition out of foster care.
"It's really got it all, from food and music to the elements of style, from decor, colors and textures," she said. "There's all of that feast for the senses going on, but it's also fairly casual. You don't have to dress to the nines for this."
Tickets are $25 each or $40 for two at goldenfowler.com or at the door. Golden-Fowler will donate a can of vegetables to the Father Fred Foundation Frostbite Food Drive for every admission.