• In this file photo, Patty Carey, founder of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, stands in front of the mural dedicated in her honor at the space center.

    The Cosmosphere was born when Carey and a couple of high school boys created a small planetarium in the poultry building at the Kansas State Fair. Carey is featured twice in the mural, once as a young woman on the right, and surrounded by young people on the left.

  • Helen Unruh at the Cosmosphere.

  • Guests listen to live music at the Coffee House located inside the Discovery Room at the Cosmosphere’s Everything Under the Stars Gala, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016.

  • Guests dance at the discotheque located in the Education Rotunda at the Cosmosphere’s Everything Under the Stars Gala, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016.

  • Guests sample exclusive bourbons from across the country at the Cosmosphere’s Everything Under the Stars Gala, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016.

Cosmosphere gala raises an estimated $151,000

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Cosmosphere's first Everything Under the Stars Gala celebrated the vision of Patty Carey in style, and went on to raise an estimated $151,000.

More than 200 people attended the gala, which consisted of five unique venues under one roof: A jazz bar, a coffee house, a discotheque, a bourbon bar and a craft beer bar, said Mimi Meredith, vice president of development for the Cosmosphere.

There were also silent and live auctions, along with liquid nitrogen caramelized popcorn and $20 champagne flutes for sale for a chance to win a $3,000 jewelry package

"There was literally something to do in every corner of the building," Meredith said. "It was so much fun to see so many people of all ages really just having a great time."

The gala's three-fold goal was to celebrate Patty Carey's vision of creating a world-class space museum to foster curiosity in science and exploration among new generations, to bring people into the Cosmosphere – both new visitors, and those who haven't been there for years – and to support the programs that change lives.

While numbers aren't final, Meredith estimates the live auction raised around $116,000 and an estimated $35,000 was raised for the Patty Carey Education Endowment.

The goal, Meredith said, was to raise a total of $35,000.

The endowment "ensures the Cosmosphere is equipped to be a leading edge international science education center long into the future," according to an event pamphlet.

Towards the middle of the evening, Helen Unruh received the first-ever Patty Carey Star Award. The award recognizes someone whose dedication to the Cosmosphere and the community reflects the character and vision of Patty Carey, Meredith said.

"She's the perfect person to receive the award," Meredith said.

In the past the Cosmosphere's annual fundraisers have involved space VIPs, attracting people from all across the nation.

This year, the Cosmosphere wanted to recognize the community that supported Carey's vision. They wanted to give Hutchinson a party.