The Anson County Partnership for Children held its seventh annual Barn Blast fundraising event on Friday, drawing over 200 people despite the icy weather. Although the money was still being added up and profits had not yet been determined at press time, ACPC Executive Director Elaine Scarborough said the approximate gross income was more than $46,000.
Barn Blast Champions for Children Reception
Vancine Sturdivant was awarded the 2013 Champion for Children award and given a plaque as ACPC held a new event, the Barn Blast Champions for Children Reception. The reception was held to honor the finalists, local heroes for children, entered for the Champions competition. Each individual and/or group finalist was recognized.
Finalists were: HOLLA! (Helping Our Loved ones Learn and Achieve) founders Subrina Hough and HOLLA! CEO Leon Gatewood; Sturdivant, the Anson County Toys for Tots founder; Gail S. Litaker, an Anson County music teacher and community children’s choir teacher; and Charles H. Riddle, a retired educator, elementary school principal, and children’s advocate, who was unable to attend the reception.
Sturdivant wasn’t expecting the honor. “I don’t even really think I did enough to be worthy of such an honor,” she said. “Like I said, what I do, I do for the kids, and the citizens of Anson County. I just don’t feel like I did enough. I tell people you don’t look for rewards, monetary rewards when you do things. Everything I do is on a volunteer basis.”
Sturdivant said her inspirations for her volunteerism are her mother, Thelma Robinson, and her grandmother, Sarah Wall.
She and each of the other finalists were given a plaque, pin, and a book autographed by North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti, the special speaker. In addition to Bathanti, other special guests included Reps. Mark Brody and Gene McLaurin.
Bathanti read poems from his book “Anson County,” including “Icons” and “Fox,” at the reception while guests enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres. The reception segued into the Barn Blast event.
Barn Blast Fundraising Event
Although only about 250 of the more than 300 people expected showed up for the Barn Blast due to icy roads, the party went on. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, live auction, games, raffles, dancing, dinner, and drinks at the five-hour Western-themed event.
Auctioned items ranged from books and handmade crafts to larger packages such as the Taste of Anson Package, which included products and gift certificates from local businesses, to an hour-long balloon ride for two in Asheville, Charlotte or over 200 other locations.
Guests appeared to enjoy the event, whether they were bidding on auction items or egging their friends on. “I think it’s great that all of these people came together and put their hard-earned money in, with the economy as it is, to help the youth in Anson County,” Luke Hyatt said as he took a break from the dance floor.
Fellow attendee Robie Tayler said he enjoyed the event, as well, and those at his table agreed.
Scarborough said she was pleased with the event. “We believe that we’re going to be as successful as we were last year despite the weather,” she said. “Without the ice we probably would have really surpassed last year.” While a lack of registered guests may have contributed to lower profits, as there were fewer people to drive up bids at the silent auction, she said it was a success.
Guests weren’t the only ones hampered by the icy roads. Despite the fact that some volunteers were unable to attend, the ones who were there were extremely helpful, Scarborough said. Jeremy Taylor and the Anson County Maintenance Department under Jeff Waisner and Morris Gatewood helped move items from the ACPC office to the Lockhart-Taylor Center and back, and SPCC and Darek James and David Whitesides allowed ACPC to hold the event at the Lockhart-Taylor Center and helped with printing, according to Scarborough.
Scarborough also extended a special thanks to her staff members, who she said “were very, very hardworking and went above and really went above and beyond as they always do for the children of Anson County.” She also thanked the board members who, although not all able to attend, all helped sell tickets, get auction items, decorate, and volunteer at the event. Gail Pressler helped with the Champtions for Children reception. The decorating chairman, Ashley Rivers, came up with all of the decorations for the Barn Blast, including straw bales, red bandannas, basket centerpieces, and more.
Although the expected bartenders were unable to attend, Deanna Napier and Sammi Williams when asked last-minute on Friday afternoon, Scarborough said, staying at the event all evening although they’d never attended the Barn Blast before. Other first-time guests were Reps. Brody and McLaurin. “Although they’d never been here before they each bought items in the auctions,” Scarborough said. “I hope they really see the community support for Barn Blast.”
Leon Gatewood, an ACPC board member, volunteered his services as DJ at the Barn Blast shortly after being honored at the reception. Scarborough also thanked photographer Whitney Martin and others. The event was sponsored by Anson Bank & Trust and Poisson, Poisson and Bower, PLLC.
To learn more about ACPC visit www.ansonchildren.org.