Barn Blast greeted guests with its traditional format — and a few new twists.
The cardboard cutouts of Bonanza characters and other throwbacks to the Old West were gone, as was Lucky Ducky, a game where guests picked a rubber duck and hoped their number written on the bottom of the duck was called so they could win a prize.
“We wanted to keep it in the spirit of Barn Blast but give it a new spin,” Caroline Goins, director of the Anson County Partnership for Children, said. “We transitioned from the Old West to country living. We kept some old favorites, but also kept them guessing.”
Barn Blast is the Partnership’s largest fundraiser of the year. Goins became director last summer when longtime director Elaine Scarborough retired.
One new addition, the wine pull, was sold out. Rows of bottles lined a wall, each wrapped in paper and marked with a number. Guests selected the bottle they wanted and were surprised with the bottle of wine they won. Three grand prizes — information on trips to a five-night stay at Los Establos Boutique Inn in Panama, a seven-night stay at Pineapple Beach Club in Antigua and a seven-night stay at St. James’ Club and Villas in Antigua — were hidden in the wrapping of three of the bottles.
The Partnership kept, “The Good, the Bad and the Lucky,” a raffle-style card game with a trip to a Sugar Mountain condo or a box of whiskey, amaretto, vodka, rum and tickets to the Behind Bars whiskey prison tour in Mount Pleasant as the grand-prize options.
Other classics from the event, including the Bonanza raffle, were also carried over to this year.
In traditional Barn Blast style, the event sold out well before the event. Goins said all tickets were gone before Christmas.
“It amazes me, the support we get, not just financial, but time,” Goins said. “We believe in early education and do whatever we can to support it. We had more than 70 volunteers and numerous sponsors. We exceeded our $25,000 sponsorship goal — we made over $26,000. It’s a testament to how much compassion this county has and how much they value our children.”
Guests had the opportunity to sponsor children for the Dolly Parton Imagination Reading Library, which sends a book each month from birth to age 5 to all children in Anson County who sign up.
“This past year, we had about 1,400 children enrolled, and the average now is about 1,200,” Goins said. “It’s our goal to be able to have every child sponsored. We’ve come very close to it.”
Goins said the Partnership has never had to turn away a child signing up for the program.
“Dolly Parton’s Reading Library is so exciting and important because it builds a foundation for learning through curiosity and excitement,” Goins said. “It’s not just books on a shelf, but in the mail, addressed to them. They’re able to take ownership of them and have a much stronger connection.”
In all, Goins said the Partnership raised more than $70,000, but that she won’t know the final number for weeks. More than 500 people contributed monetarily through ticket sales, bids, sponsorships and donations.
She thanked her predecessor for her support and laying the foundation for the event, as well as her staff and all of the volunteers and guests at the event.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.