SlimFest 2011 returning to New Midland Plaza

Steve Stilts is inviting people to log off their social networks and come experience Facebook “live.”

The Sixth Annual SlimFest is set for Saturday, Aug. 6, at the amphitheater at New Midland Plaza in Alcoa. Smooth Grove and Joe the Show will entertain audiences from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Stilts, with S & S Industries, Inc., a commercial insulation manufacturer in Rockford, started the annual event on his birthday as a fundraiser for the Shop with a Cop program of the Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Chapter Lodge 9. It has expanded over the years and now also raises funds for the Maryville and Alcoa football boosters.

“SlimFest is a free, benefit concert recommended for adults to raise money for children,” said Stilts. “If you have not experienced this event before, bring your lawn chair and come to New Midland Plaza and enjoy the music from two talented bands, along with great food from Puleo’s Grille and Texas Roadhouse.”

Stilts said the concert and party is a bridge between seasons. “Summer is winding down, and it is a chance to get out and see your friends before the craziness of fall starts. It is a great venue with good music with a chance to walk away with $10,000, if you win the reverse raffle,” he said. “Some folks are calling it a live Facebook social. It gets everybody off their computers to come out and see their friends live before it is time to get ready for the school year. You’re helping kids in the community and getting the chance to win a $10,000 prize.”

The prize comes through the reverse raffle that is sold before and during Slimfest. A $100 raffle ticket gives the purchaser the opportunity to win $10,000 in cash, with the event paying the taxes.

Stilts said there are still a few $100 reverse raffle tickets available. “We make it a true $10,000 prize because we pay the taxes for the winner.”

Other prizes will also be given away, some tied to the raffle and some to drink tickets.

“There is also a $1,500 diamond necklace from Phillips Jewelry that will be given away along with $500 in gas cards from KenJo Markets, $1,000 in gift cards from Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, a gift card from Foothills Milling Company and two reserved seats to see Reba McEntire at this year’s Foothills Fall Festival,” he said.

Stilts said that people get into the VIP section - an area under cover of a large canopy tent with tables, fans and drink service - if they buy a raffle ticket. “Or, for a $700 sponsorship. Sponsors get two VIP armbands and a table in the tent area with electric fans,” he said. “If you just want to enjoy the music, come and bring a lawn chair.”

Stilts said the concert has grown in popularity since it began in 2006. “People have told me how much they enjoy attending SlimFest,” he said. “They say it is like a live Facebook event because they see so many of their friends.”

Even with the fun of a party, Stilts said that isn’t what has kept the event alive for six years.

“It’s fun, but my wife, Donna, and I do this because of one day in early December when 70-plus kids get to come shopping and be assured of having a merry Christmas. Now we have the added benefit of partnering with two very fine athletic booster programs with Maryville and Alcoa high schools. It really is all about supporting children,” Stilts said.

Stilts said the event wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the community and the many volunteers.

“We have had many of the same sponsors behind this benefit since 2006, and this shows me that the people of Blount County and their businesses believe in helping the children who will play a part of our future,” he said.

If you want a raffle ticket, go to www.TheSlimFest.com for information on the event and how to purchase tickets.

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