SlimFest success has organizer thinking of Christmas

Party hosts celebrate Steve Stilts birthday while raising money for Shop With a Cop and the Maryville and Alcoa athletic booster clubs. From left are Donna and Steve “Slim” Stilts with son Andy Stilts and his fiancée Jessica.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Party hosts celebrate Steve Stilts birthday while raising money for Shop With a Cop and the Maryville and Alcoa athletic booster clubs. From left are Donna and Steve “Slim” Stilts with son Andy Stilts and his fiancée Jessica.

Steve Stilts had barely stepped off the stage at SlimFest 2011 after awarding the $10,000 grand prize, and he was already thinking about the Christmas season.

Stilts and his wife, Donna, always take part in the annual Shop With a Cop event at the Alcoa Walmart each December. Area underprivileged children get to go Christmas shopping with members of the Fraternal Order of Police using funds raised primarily during SlimFest.

“I don’t want to wish the year away , but I’m already thinking of the smiles on the kids faces while Christmas shopping in December with the local FOP and other community volunteers,” Stilts said.

Stilts joked that the concert, which also raises funds for the athletic booster clubs at Maryville and Alcoa high schools, could be renamed BestFest after the positive response the community gave it this year.

“We broke every SlimFest record. We had the most attendance with more than 3,000 people, our highest beverage sales ever, as well as raffle ticket sales, and, thanks to a 15-minute rain shower, the lowest temperature of the past six years,” he said.

Entertainment was a big hit this year, said Stilts, with the addition of Joe the Show and the return of the popular Smooth Groove, who had the dance floor packed.

Stilts said the party couldn’t happen without the help of a host of volunteers. “It is mind-boggling to try and figure the number of man/woman hours that goes into preparation for this fundraiser,” he said. “I was very pleased with the hard work the three groups who benefit from the party gave before and during this year’s event. Everyone still continues to give to the kids, even in this crazy economy.”

“The local support of this fundraiser is what gives me the incentive to want to organize the next year’s event,” he said. “I’m going to give myself and everyone else a few months break from discussing and planning SlimFest 2012.”

Stilts said the FOP Shop with a Cop program and the Alcoa and Maryville High School athletic booster clubs will each receive around $15,000 each. “We are still totaling the donations and paying the expense. If someone would like to make a direct donation to the Shop With a Cop program, please make your check to Blount County FOP mail to: P.O. Box 5538, Maryville, TN 37802.”

If anyone would like a turquoise or yellow T-shirt with SlimFest logo for a $25 donation go to www.THESLIMFEST.com.

Prize winners were as follows:

The $10,000 grand prize was split three ways between Roger Branam, Dennis Livesay and the Jim Pack group of 10 friends. The three were the last three standing in the reverse drawing and decided to donate $1,000 to FOP and Shop With a Cop and split the remaining $9,000.

The $1,500 diamond necklace donated by Phillips Jewelry went to Mike Spangler.

The two VIP tickets for the Reba McEntire concert at the Foothills Fall Festival were won by Josh King.

Five winners of $200 each gift cards to Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson included: Sandy Curtis, Beverly Neal, Darrell Tipton, Tom Stinnett and Nelson Russell.

Five winners of $100 each gift cards to KenJo Market included: Mike Bradley, Kirk Cunningham, Darby Abbott, Steve Blankenship and Ray Franklin.

Winners of $100 gift card to Pilot were Neville Howell and Fay King.

Two winners of $75 for gun permit class at Terminal Performance, were Jeremy Cable and Chuck Henderlight.

Winning the gift card to Foothills Milling Co. was Troy Morgan.

Laramy Gregory, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Lodge 9, said without SlimFest, Shop with a Cop wouldn’t happen. “Without the money raised at this concert, we could not do what we do. As SlimFest has grown, Shop With a Cop has grown,” he said.

Maryville High School athletic director George Quarles was having fun watching folks enjoy the concert. “First off, it’s a great event. Steve does a great job of getting good acts,” he said.

Quarles said the event is a good fundraiser for Shop with a Cop and both the Maryville and Alcoa booster clubs, especially in a tight economy. “There’s no question you’ve got to raise money, and this is a great way to do it,” he said.

Alcoa High School athletic director Josh Stephens said the main reason for SlimFest is to support children of Blount County. “Everybody is here for the same reason,” he said.

Stephens said the event gave Tornado and Rebel players and their supporters the chance to work together to help one another’s programs and the FOP Shop With a Cop program. “You’ve got two of the best programs in the state going head to head on Aug. 27, and on that day we’re enemies, but on every other day and tonight, we’re working together,” he said.

Maryville School Board chair Christi Sayles said Stilts and his volunteers consistently work hard to make the event a success, especially since the economy soured. “When times are tough, you count on community, and it’s folks like Steve that you count on,” she said.

Andy Stilts, Steve and Donna Stilts’ son, said the concert has grown into a well-attended community fundraising event. “I feel it is great for the community, and I know he enjoys doing this,” he said of his dad. “It’s a party for the community.”

Joe Anderson said this is a fundraiser he is proud to support. “It was started by my real good friend, Steve Stilts,” he said. “It’s for kids and Maryville sports. It’s a good, fun time for everybody.”

Next year’s SlimFest is set for Aug. 4, 2012.

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