Hoedown raises funds for Smart Start

Published 9:27 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

The 5th annual Smart Start Hoedown fundraiser for early education programs was a success despite the change in date due to inclement weather.

“In fact, we may have had a guardian angel watching over us since our postponed date was the weekend of the Super Bowl,” said Gena Taylor, Smart Start executive director. The signed Carolina Panther football was a highlight in the live auction.

The event raised funds for the Imagination Library program, Parent as Teachers home visiting program, Reach Out and Read, and training initiatives to support early education teachers, among other programs in housed through Smart Start.

“I am once again humbled by the support of our community and many sponsors that have supported SSDC, ” Taylor said.  “This event is made possible through our dedicated staff and wonderful volunteers. We want to thank many of our guests and sponsors that have been with us since the first Hoedown in 2011 and want to invite others to come learn more about what we are doing in the community for early education.”

The event included several fun games, three silent auctions, a live auction, and the popular dessert dash. Guests enjoyed a catered sit-down dinner served by Davie High’s National Honor Society and STEM student volunteers. The volunteers also helped with the “needle in the haystack” game where guests bought Mason jars filled with prizes ranging from $10 to $100.  Every jar was a winner and local businesses donated prizes for this game.

UTA sports and Brandy Koontz-Stockert sponsored a Big Green Egg grill set for the prize in the “outlaw outpost” game where guests purchased keys to unlock the grill. “This is the second year for this game and we had many return players excited about trying their key to unlock the awesome prize,” she said.

Renna Welborn was in charge of the food and dessert dash.A total of  29 desserts donated by more than 15 local restaurants/bakeries were sold.

Guests loved dashing to the “Pudding Patch” to get the dessert of their choice.

Allison Dahl donated her time and talent to decorate and transform the Winmock Barn into the Hoedown theme complete with white and blue flowers for the fifth anniversary sapphire year.  Mandy Chapman donated her time to capture photos from the night.

In addition to Welborn and Dahl serving on the Hoedown committee, Cammie Webb chaired the event.  Webb has chaired the event and been a part of organizing this fundraiser since its inception in 2011.

Brandy Koontz Stockert and Wendy Terry led the efforts for auction items and Kim Smith helped. Cindy Green, Daphne Frye, and John Ferguson rounded out the committee and helped with appetizers, auction items,  and sponsorships. Donna Thompson, Jennifer Hansell, Laura Flanagan, Kelly and Neva Frazier were essential volunteers.

Local kindergarten teacher, Julie Holt, spoke about the importance of early education and literacy for Davie County’s youngest children and how that makes such a difference for kindergarten readiness.  “We appreciate the many years she has served as Kindercamp teacher for the summer program and her passion in supporting Smart Start’s efforts for many programs to help children enter kindergarten ready to learn,” Taylor said.

“A huge thanks to those attending this year’s event. Without the support of the community and local businesses, we would not be able to do what we do for the young children in Davie County.”