Leeza Gibbons’ Dare2Care Fair in Columbia packs the house

Leeza Gibbons gained international fame as the longtime host of Entertainment Tonight, and her work as a journalist made her an Emmy winner, but the University of South Carolina alumna has never forgotten her home.

Gibbons, who grew up in Irmo, was in Columbia Saturday to host the first Dare2Care Fair at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The day included an open to all ages array of games and food along with a health expo. Those events were followed by a Gratitude Event and Take the Dare live auction, in which local and national celebrities challenged the audience to participate in live dares to raise funds for Leeza’s Care Connection, a free resource for those caring for a loved one with a chronic illness or disease.

Photos: ColaDaily/Allen Wallace

“We wanted to create an opportunity for families to come together,” Gibbons said of the inaugural event. The auction drew a full ballroom of guests, including University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner.

“It’s different from most events with the dares,” said Madison Duffie as she watched volunteers go to the stage for a dancing challenge. “And I love that Leeza never forgets where she came from.”

On display at the event was the Reflection of Our Connection Wall, a multicolored stack of blocks on which were written stories of acts of kindness in the community. Leeza’s Care Connection staff and volunteers distributed the bricks months before the event, placing many on doorsteps and in mailboxes anonymously as a challenge to the receiver to use that moment to do something good.

That’s what we challenge you to do, too,” Gibbons said. “Be a Reflection of Our Connection.”

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