You have to hand it to PACER Center. Not only does the crew running this 30-year-old nonprofit provide much-needed help to the parents of kids with disabilities, but they also know how to throw a party that leaves donors wanting to come back and give again next year.

Granted, the 3,200 attendees who paid from $55 to $550 to hear disco-era big band Earth, Wind & Fire at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday had to sit through the obligatory opening remarks. But the live auction of a Mercedes SLK 280, two bewildered golden Lab puppies, an astoundingly tricked-out, wheelchair-accessible playhouse and a posh vacation package was enthrallingly led by va-va-voom pro auctioneer Karen Sorbo. A platoon of engaging young women in up-to-there black cocktail dresses and tottering-height heels had no trouble selling 34 $100-a-pop "bling bags," which contained gift certificates for designer jewelry and handbags.

Just as it seemed to be about the Twelfth of Never, EW & F took the stage in glitter-appliqué T-shirts and wowed the crowd with their full panoply of hits, including "Sing a Song" and "September." Previously decorous attendees filled the aisles, unable to contain their dance moves. The security detail was momentarily on alert, until it became clear that the flurry of rusty limb flailings was merely a remembrance of boogie wonderlands past.

For more information on the center, see www.pacer.org.

KRISTIN TILLOTSON