While all gambling at the Scotland County Red Cross chapter’s annual fundraiser may be with play money, the event’s benefit to the group is a sure bet.
The organization’s 17th Annual Celebrity Dinner and Game Night will begin at 5:30 p.m. on March 16 in the St. Andrews University Belk Center. The event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Scotland County Chapter of the American Red Cross, which also serves Robeson County.
“We want to continue all the services that the Red Cross does in the community, blood drives and assisting victims of disaster in the community,” said John Ridge, event co-chair and owner of Domino’s Pizza. “All the things they do nationwide.”
The evening begins with a social hour and a parade of thematically-dressed celebrity waiters and game hosts. Past themes have ranged from the Wizard of Oz to Grease, but this year’s celebrity themes won’t be revealed until the night of the dinner.
“They pay to come see what these creative people are going to do this year,” said Carol Ann Lentz, executive director of the Scotland County Red Cross chapter. “It’s kind of like a masquerade; you don’t know what you’re going to see until you get there and what personalities. We have people that are in personality all night long.”
For the first time this year, there will be a “people’s choice” award for the most popular celebrity. Votes, at $1 per vote, may be cast online from now through March 16 at scotlandcountyarc.org. Multiple votes for multiple celebrities are allowed.
“Whenever you can dress up and pretend to be somebody else and then have people come see you, it’s hilarious,” said Brenda Locklear of Campbell’s Soup. “It’s a load of fun and there couldn’t be a better cause.”
The parade will be followed by a dinner program, then games and a silent auction at 8 p.m. The evening will feature classic casino games like blackjack and craps as well as bingo and cornhole. Local businesses including Service Thread, Murphy-Brown LLC, the Z.V. Pate Foundation (Quality Oil and Gas, Scottish Food System, Southeast Farm Equipment, Z V Pate, Inc.), Scotland Healthcare System, Bob’s Jewel Shop, Domino’s Pizza, Campbell’s Soup, FCC, and Railroad Friction Product Corp. are sponsoring the event.
“We think that Scotland County needs help; we live in a poor rural community and it’s really important that we support the Red Cross and other agencies here,” said Service Thread COO Jay Todd. “We really like the Red Cross and it’s really easy to make that decision to support them because of what they do with the blood drives and help for people who have been through a fire, as well as support of military families. We have people who have been deployed who work for us and we’ve seen firsthand the impact of that. We have customers in some of these areas that are hit by disaster and through the Red Cross we’ve been able to donate to help those areas.”
All gambling will be done with “fun money,” with $10,000 included with each ticket. Prizes, on the other hand, are not imaginary, and include a mountain vacation, wine tastings, Carolina Panthers tickets, and a ride-along at Rockingham Raceway.
“It’s a lot of fun and it gives everybody an opportunity to help the Red Cross,” said event co-chair Angi Romaine of Murphy-Brown, LLC.
Tickets are $45 per person and can be obtained from committee members or at the Red Cross office at 501A Westwood Way in Laurinburg. For information, call 276-0600.