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'Idol' finale family fun

Millions of Americans are expected to tune in for the "American Idol" finale for this TV season on May 20.

A local foundation has decided to do some good while having fun in connection with the event.

For the second year, the Madison Claire Foundation will host their American Idol Finale Bash fundraiser at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center in hopes of raising money for the construction of Madison's Place, a completely handicapped accessible playground to be built at the Bielenberg Sports Center.

"This event is unique because a lot of these fundraising events are strictly for adults, but this one is geared for families," Kerstin March, from the Madison Claire Foundation, said. "Children are going to be using the playground, so it's nice that they are going to be as much a part of the fundraising event as adults."

The Madison's Place playground will cost $600,000 to construct, and so far the foundation has raised $25,000.

The Madison Claire Foundation was set up by Dana Millington for her daughter Madison Claire Millington, who passed away from Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two. The Foundation is dedicated to helping children and families living with SMA and other life-threatening illnesses and disabilities.

Last year's American Idol Event drew in over 200 people and this year they are hoping for 350.

For $125 per family, in addition to watching the American Idol finale on a jumbo screen, attendants at the event will also be treated to a buffet dinner, a silent auction for adults and raffle for kids, kids karaoke and guitar hero competitions and each child will walk away with a prize bag.

"If families are looking for a fun way to get involved with their community and still have a fun time with their family this is it," March said. "Anything they do at this event will go to a playground that will benefit the entire East Metro community and that is a really powerful message to send to their children."

The American Idol Finale Bash will be May 20 at 5 p.m. at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center, 3712 Layton Ave N, Lake Elmo. All proceeds will go towards the building of Madison's Place. Tickets are $125 per family. To register for the event, contact Dana Millington at

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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