NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The American Red Cross Serving Central Illinois held its 27th annual Evening of Stars Wednesday night for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 500 people attended for dinner and an auction. There was also a magic performance by former NFL player Jon Dorenbos.

The purpose of the event is to raise funds to support the mission of the Red Cross, and Executive Director Lyn Hruska said she is thankful for the support.

“It really is a fundraiser to support our work, the work of our volunteers. But I have to tell you it just feels like a party and a community gathering of people coming together to support our own community. So it feels wonderful to see a lot of folks I haven’t seen for a couple years,” Hruska said.

Hruska said the mission of the Red Cross is to help people who experience disasters. 97% of work done by the Red Cross is by volunteers.