Tribune-Courier News Editor
GILBERTSVILLE — Couples danced to live big band music as the Marshall County Arts Commission’s Race to the Finish went into full swing Friday night.
George Milam, a member of the Commission, said over 200 tickets were sold at the event, with over $12,000 raised at the start of the dinner and dance. Donations were collected at the door, and an auction was held later in the night to collect more money.
Proceeds will go to the Children’s Art Center, scheduled to open in July. The building will be fully functional, but will need items like furniture, performing and visual arts lighting and other items to provide full-service instruction to both the children and adults of Marshall County.
“We’ve got a lot going on tonight,” Milam said. “We’ve got a photographer. There will be a ladies’ and mens’ hat contest. It’s a derby theme, so you can see the ladies have worn some beautiful hats. We’ve got the auction, and we will be introducing our new Cover our Kids campaign with our Faces of Marshall County program.”
Benton Mayor Steve Cary attended the event, though without a hat.
“It’s a special evening. Everyone has stepped out of their normal lives. They’re dressed up and have their hats. It’s happening and that’s what I like.”
Judge-Executive Mike Miller praised the turnout and called Race to the Finish a biggie as a social and fund raising event.
“I brought my granddaughter,” Miller said. “Last night, we were out eating and I turned to her and said, ‘Olivia, bring your dancing shoes so you can dance with PawPaw.’ She told her parents she had to go out to the store today because she didn’t have any dancing shoes and needed to buy a pair!”
Josh Hendrickson, a member of the Benton City Council, said the night presented him with a good opportunity to meet new people and find out what was going on in the community. The portion of the evening he anticipated most was the auction, conducted by auctioneer Tanner Roberts. Hendrickson grew coy when asked what items he planned to bid on.
“I’ve got my eye on a few items,” Hendrickson said. “There’re are a couple of sporting items I’d like to have, but they will probably sell for more than I have in my pocket. That autographed John Calipari basketball? I wouldn’t mind having that.”