Final Preparations Underway For Variety Kids Telethon 2011

March 4, 2011 Updated Mar 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

...
March 4, 2011 Updated Mar 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM EDT

The Variety Kids Telethon is a nearly half a century old tradition in Buffalo that gives back to kids to need it most.

The telethon, taking place at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Downtown Buffalo, helps kids like Gracie Joyce who is this year's celebrity child.

This star-studded event is fun for a good cause but it takes nearly a year of preparation to get it right.

"We're taking a 75,000 square foot ballroom and making into a television studio," telethon Executive Producer Steve Podosek said.

Channel 7's Production Engineer Charlie Smith said it's time consuming but worth every minute.

"We started Monday morning but up the lights. Between Monday and Wednesday we made sure everything was ready in the broadcast areas," Smith said.

More than 2,000 volunteers are involved with all aspects of the Telethon. Besides setting up, organizers must accommodate the slew of celebrities, including actress Ilene Graff who makes her way to Buffalo each year for this event.

"Although it's a national charity all the money that is raised locally, stays locally. So you know all the money you give will go to an organization in the area," Graff said.

Others are local celebrities like local band "More than Me". They are giving back to the children of the city they love.

"We did an acoustic performance at Children's Hospital in the summer and the response not just by the kids but the nurses and everybody was overwhelming. They asked us to get involved and we were happy to do it," band member Ryan Doyle said.

The telethon is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday but the weekend is full of other events to raise money for Women's and Children's Hospital. On Saturday morning, there is lunch with Mr. Food at Salvatore's Italian Gardens. That night, people can enjoy performances from all the telethon celebrities at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.

"Every single dollar adds up to make miracles for our kids," Podosek said.

Many of these people were able to warm up for the telethon by visiting Channel 7's A-M Buffalo to perform. Even little Gracie got her chance to be a star. Organizers said with this money they hope to help her shine for the rest of her life.

The telethon raises more than a million dollars a year for the hospital.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.