Slimfest 2009

Night for grown-ups is benefit for children

The SlimFest free outdoor party is two weeks away and representatives from the two charities it benefits are enthusiastic about the event set for Aug. 1 in New Midland Plaza.

The Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Chapter and New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center are the beneficiaries of the event. Steve “Slim” Stilts started the event four years ago as a birthday party for himself to benefit the community.

Children’s Advocacy Center executive director Trudy Hughes said this is one of her organization’s major special events of the year. “More than 50 percent of our funding comes from special events. SlimFest is a huge help,” she said. “In addition to the needed funds, it is an opportunity to partner with other organizations like F.O.P. and be involved with Slim and his friends and family. The community has embraced this event.”

Hughes said that while SlimFest is fun, it is also a huge amount of work by hundreds of volunteers. “We start on Friday with set up which continues all day Saturday and then working Saturday night. What is most amazing to me is after those volunteers have worked for two days, you come back Sunday, and they’re doing tear-down and clean-up and are still smiling and happy,” she said. “This shows the spirit of folks who want to get behind an effort to help agencies in the community when I’m sure there are other things they could be doing with their time.”

Hughes the food and drink provided by the community are great and the raffle and concert are always fun and entertaining. “The event is always a blast,” she said.

Jarrod Millsaps, community outreach officer with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and second vice president for the Bud Allison Memorial Lodge for the Fraternal Order of Police, said SlimFest funds two of the area’s biggest charities that help children.

“The advocacy center is a great asset for law enforcement and a help for abused children,” he said.

Millsaps said the FOP also holds a youth camp in the summer and organizes a Shop with a Cop effort to help less fortunate children buy Christmas presents during the holidays. “We’ve expanded Shop with a Cop this year. Every month during the year, we now take two kids shopping. This helps relationships alive with those children,” he said.

Millsaps praised Stilts. “Steve is a great friend to the FOP,” he said. “He had the vision for this event, and we’re happy to be part of it and happy to help make this such a success.”

Over the past three years the event has raised more than $180,000. Stilts started the event in August of 2006. “Thanks to many generous supporters, this has grown to become the largest single day event in Blount County,” Stilts said.

The concert is free, but recommended to music lovers over the age of 21. The night is designed to entertain adults with all proceeds benefiting children, Stilts said.

The Wine and Spirits Cellar of Maryville is sponsoring the VIP area. To reserve a table in the VIP area, call Stilts at 865-414-2000. There will be a large area for individuals to bring their own chairs to relax and enjoy music whether the attendees are in the VIP area or not..

The big money-maker for the event is the reverse raffle, which nets the winner $10,000, free and clear of all taxes, which are paid by the event. Tickets for the raffle are $100, and the reverse raffle numbers will be drawn the evening of SlimFest. Ticket holders can keep up with the progress of the raffle during the event on a screen. When the drum gets down to the last tickets, the ticket holders who are present are invited on stage for the final drawings. However, contestants do not have to be present to win. Sponsorships are available by calling Stilts.

Tickets for the reverse raffle are on sale now from any on the SlimFest committee, at New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center (865-981-2000) or by calling Stilts at 865-414-2000. They are also available online at www.slimfest.com, or by calling 865-984-KIDS (5437). The raffle tickets are tax deductible.

Vendors will have food and beverages at the event, and there will be other prizes given away throughout the evening. Phillips Jewelry has donated a $1,500 necklace for the fourth year in a row, and the Kenjo Markets has donated five $100 gift cards. Media sponsors are Blount Today, 97.5 and 103.5 radio. The radio stations will be offering other contest promotions leading up to the event.

Slimfest is from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 1, at New Midland Plaza.

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