On Friday, February 3, 2023 our Council Grove Area Trade & Tourism Association held its First Annual Gala Reception : A Trolley Fundraiser. I’m calling this one a huge success!
Fundraising details are forthcoming, because, you know . . . math. But, let’s focus on the other positive impacts of this exceptional event. Where do I begin? Let’s start with the concept.
Our goal was to create an event that we could build upon year after year. Something special that truly celebrates our community, because we are something special. Am I right?
Fun was the plan. Fun in explaining our vision, goals, and successes as an organization. Fun in celebrating the efforts of our businesses, non-profits, and community members (more on that in a minute). And fun in experiencing each other as a community.
Our Association board wanted the event to be affordable, so we kept the ticket price as low as possible.
The evening was fantastically hosted by Council Grove Community Theatre director, Dave May. Our musical entertainment was provided by April WInegar, vocalist, Rick Smith, guitar, and Matthew Meals, guitar. And, it was jazzy and perfect. Five Stars all the way.
We began by having our guests park at the high school and take the Council Grove Trail Trolley to our red carpet leading to The Territory Ballroom.
As our guests exited the Trolley, Jan Troxell from Sister Act photography graciously donated her skills and captured the moment. But, she didn’t stop there! Jan set up an elegant backdrop and took pictures of couples, friends, award winners, and more all evening long. And, we have something special up our sleeves with these pictures!
Upon arrival, guests checked in and made their way to the bar. Owner of the Territory Ballroom, Nicky Tiffany, created a signature drink for the event called a French 75. A mix of Champagne, Gin, Lemon, and eatable glitter swirled around in the glasses of our crowd all through the night. Happy sipping ensued.
The Hays House 1857 Restaurant and Tavern catered the evening with a mix of their Chicken Satay, Spinach Artichoke Dip, a heavenly Charcuterie Board like only Chef Randy can do, Swedish Meatballs, and more. Desserts magically appeared later in the evening, thanks to the Hays House staff. A chocolate fountain, truffles, and carrot cake bites complemented The Trail Days Cafe's signature BIG COOKIES that we had available all evening and in our guests’ goodie bags as they departed.
We raffled off centerpieces donated by TCT Broadband, Flint Hills Flames, Flowers by Lindsey, Schwerdtfeger Auto, headlines by June Cleavers, The Territory Ballroom, and our Association.
The centerpieces were outstanding! Candles, gift certificates, floral arrangements, a movie night package, an Amazon Fire Stick, a basket full of fresh eggs (try and guess the street value on that one!), a champaign bucket, and the first opportunity for the public to snap up one of our CGT&T Association’s new snarky tees!
But, by far, my very favorite part of the evening was giving away the 2022 Council Grove Area Awards. Beautifully created by Bobby and Christy Alexander at Alexander Artworks, and designed by Jon Wadick of Ad Astra Directive.
Please join me in congratulating the following organizations and people. They each are so deserving of this recognition.
Employee of the Year : Dee Dee Morningstar
Volunteer of the Year : Larry Rose
Non-Profit of the Year : Care & Share
New Business of the Year : The Dealership Building
Business of the Year : Grove Gardens
Citizen of the Year : Sharon Haun
Giving these awards out was the highlight of the evening. Thank you to everyone that lied, deceived, and tricked our winners into coming. We knew we could count on you. I kid! The manipulation was only minor and definitely for a good cause.
I gave a speech. I hate giving speeches. Thankfully, the audience was a fun one, and it went by fast. I hope the major takeaway from my speech was heard. That our Association supports Council Grove, the surrounding area, and ALL businesses and efforts that make our home a wonderful place to live, work, and play.
We set a new bar for our Association’s annual meeting. Next year, we’ll raise it. Because one thing that I can promise you, we are just getting started.
One final thought. Events like these don’t just magically come together; one person cannot do it all. I only played a small part in it. The credit goes to those that took on the truly difficult tasks as volunteers and/or “voluntolds”.
If you see these guys around, please thank them. I can’t seem to find the right words for how much their help meant to me in bringing the entire event to life.
Jon Wadick, Angie Schwerdtfeger, Jan Troxell, Nicky Tiffany, Madeline Lee, Bobby and Christy Alexander, Margaret Wyatt, Addy Bachura, and, of course, Dave May.
Our sponsors made the entire event possible. Thank you to our 2022 platinum members : Morris County, the City of Council Grove, TCT Broadband, Farmers & Drovers Bank, Valerie’s Gifts & Such, and Superior Systems.
And thank you to our special event sponsors : Flint Hills Flames, Messy Bessie’s Bakery, Adams Lumber and Homestore, and Geff Dawson & Dawn with Cuz Garver; Western Music & Cowboy Entertainment.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.