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Preparations are under way for Harford County Public Library's 8th annual Gala, "Once Upon a Time: An Evening in the Stacks." The highly-anticipated event will be held Saturday, Nov. 3 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Abingdon library on Tollgate Road.

This year's theme, Once Upon a Time, was inspired by the 200th anniversary of Grimm's Fairy Tales. The Abingdon library will be transformed into an enchanted forest with over-the-top décor, scrumptious small plates by Laurrapin Grille, an imaginative drink menu by Liberatore's Ristorante, local beers by DuClaw Brewery, wines by Jim's Bottle Works and big band musical entertainment by Zim Zemarel Orchestra.

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A highlight of the evening is expected to be the live auction, where the library will sell a custom-designed backyard retreat for the second year. Dubbed "BackYard Crashers" after the hit HGTV show "Yard Crashers," the package includes a 500-square-foot patio with fireplace, a $7,500 lighting package, landscaping and outdoor furniture. The package is valued at more than $50,000.

Last year's winners, Angela and Greg Hoover, won the auction with a record $26,000 bid.

"Our backyard has been transformed in to a beautiful entertainment area! The partners were great to work with and their quality of work was outstanding," Angela Hoover said. "Good luck to this year's bidders - they will not be disappointed."

The Hoovers backyard transformation can be viewed on Harford Cable Network as well as online on the Harford County Public Library Foundation's YouTube page. This year the Backyard Crashers team includes Rock Solid Hardscaping, Nature Unlimited, Picture Perfect Patios and EP Henry.

"We are proud to partner a second year on this unique project. It has given the team an opportunity to support the library, which plays a key role in our community," John Cichorz, managing member of Rock Solid Hardscaping, said. "We look forward to working with Nature Unlimited again, and welcome EP Henry and Picture Perfect Patios to the team."

Nearly 600 guests attended the library's 2011 gala, which raised $90,000 for HCPL initiatives. Proceeds were used to complete the Early Literacy Center Campaign at the Bel Air branch, expand the Library's LEAP science program to four additional branches, support the annual Summer and Winter Reading Programs and bring the Journey Stories exhibitions and author series to Harford County.

"This year proceeds will also help launch Little LEAPERS, a new early literacy initiative designed to introduce the County's youngest readers to science and math," Mary Hastler, Director of Harford County Public Library, said. "Little LEAPERS will include programming and kits designed to help children develop important skills relevant to all areas of learning. Like the library's LEAP Kits, developed for ages 7 and up, Little LEAPERS kits will be available for check out and will have fun themes like water, insects and colors, and feature durable equipment for children 0 to 5 to use to explore."

"We are fortunate to live in a community that whole-heartedly supports our library system," Amber C. Shrodes, director of the Harford County Public Library Foundation, said. "Early sponsorship for the gala has been strong and we already have requests for tickets. While our goal is ambitious, I am hopeful we will raise enough seed money to outfit every branch with 12 Little LEAPERS kits by 2013."

Businesses and individuals can support the library through gala sponsorship, individual ticket purchases, live and silent auction bids at the event and by participating in the library's diamond bracelet raffle. Saxon's Diamond Centers donated a three carat diamond tennis bracelet set in 14 karat white gold. Tickets are $10 for one, or three for $25 and are available online at eveninginthestacks.com, library branches and Saxon's Diamond Centers.

Richardson's Flowers and Gifts, Saxon's Diamond Centers, M&T Bank, Keene Dodge, WXCY 103.7, The Aegis, Hart to Heart Ambulance, APG Federal Credit Union, Two Brothers Moving, Freedom Federal Credit Union, Klein's Shoprite, Slavie Federal Savings Bank, Safe Harbors Travel Group, Events by I Did it Myself, Total Urgent Care, Point Breeze Credit Union, Broom's Bloom, Laurel Bush Dentistry, COPT, Baker & Taylor, Upper Chesapeake Health, Ellin & Tucker, Smart CEO Magazine, Wegmans, Rainbow International, Mark Welsh and Kathy Wajer are early sponsors for this year's event.

Tickets for the Harford County Public Library gala go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 4. To learn more visit http://www.eveninginthestacks.com.

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