The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, a charity group that grants “wishes” to children with life-threatening illnesses, holds its largest fundraising event of the year, its wine tasting and live auction event, at Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica.

This year’s event, dubbed “Uncork A Wish,” is coming up at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19th. Tickets are $150 at the door or $125 in advance.

The event has been held for the past 12 years, and Make-A-Wish officials expect about 2,000 guests to turn out this year to sample bouquets from various wineries and try appetizers from numerous Los Angeles area restaurants. The second feature of the charity event is a live and silent auction, where guests bid on items including works of art.

Former Entertainment Tonight host Bob Gruen will return to host the live auction again this year.

Last year’s event raised $530,000, and millions of dollars have been raised over the past 12 years, according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The proceeds from last year’s event helped make “wishes” comes true for approximately 400 children in the Los Angeles area living with life-threatening medical conditions.

Recent examples of granted wishes include a young leukemia patient who was given her own “Hollywood Walk-of-Fame” star plaque, which was presented by Johnny Grant. The girl also had a day of fun planned around themes in the Princess Diaries movie. A 17-year-old photographer/filmmaker with lupus was granted his wish to have a professional SLR digital camera. A young leukemia patient was given a trip to Catalina Island, where she could spend time having fun with her family before her bone marrow transplant.

Close to 100 wineries will be represented at the fundraising event, including Semeler Malibu Estate, Francis Coppola and Topanga Vineyards.

Restaurants returning this year to serve appetizers at the event include Chez Jay, Bread and Butter Catering, Katana, Locanda Del Lago, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Arnie Morton’s of Chicago, Water Grill and Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs. Newcomers include La Boheme, Boa Steakhouse and M CafÈ Fred Segal.

The silent and live auction will feature about 400 items, and will include a drawing for a seven-day cruise for two to a choice of locations.

Other auction items include trips, artwork, jewelry and signed sports and entertainment memorabilia.

The emphasis of the auction is on one-of-a-kind items, according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A 2005 Pontiac GTO, customized for the reality television show The Agent and donated by show participant and USC defensive end Shaun Cody, will be auctioned off. USC Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinhart will auction off a signed jersey.

Guests will also be bidding on lunch for two with UCLA basketball coach John Wooden; a trip to watch the season finale of the television show The Apprentice in New York City; guitars signed by Sheryl Crow, Slash (guitarist of Velvet Revolver, Guns ‘N’ Roses) and Green Day; a Los Angeles Lakers jersey signed by Shaquille O’Neal; a foursome of golf at the Trump National Golf Course in Los Angeles; the chance to join the cast of The Simpsons during a table read as a guest of Nancy Cartwright; a ride in the Goodyear Blimp; dinner for four with the cast of MAD TV; and lunch prepared with the firefighters at Hollywood Fire Station 27.

Since it was established in April 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles has granted approximately 5,200 “wishes” to children throughout Los Angeles County.

Information, (310) 788-9474.

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