Winter Gala draws crowd to support Little River Watershed Association

Folks from across the community spent Saturday evening, March 12, enjoying hors d’oeuvres, music and fellowship at the Clayton Center for the Arts with one purpose in mind: Keeping the Little River clean.

The 2011 Little River Watershed Association Winter Gala drew people from throughout the area to show their support for maintaining the quality of the Little River as a source of drinking water as well as a place for recreation.

Association executive director Mark Whited was pleased with the crowd. “I think it was a fabulous turnout. The venue at the Clayton Center is unbelievable. I hadn’t been in there with an event before, but the venue itself really put the event over the top. We had a great time. More people attended than we prepared for because we had quite a few walk-ins,” he said. “So we had a great turnout.”

Association president Kim Raia thanked everyone for coming to the Winter Gala at the Clayton Center for the Arts. “It was a great cause, and we had wonderful support from our elected officials,” she said. “We haven’t paid the bills yet, but we think we’re very much on target for meeting our goal.”

Among those attending were County Mayor Ed Mitchell, State Sen. Doug Overbey, State Rep. Robert Ramsey and former Gov. and First Lady Don and Martha Sundquist. “I believe it was our best fundraiser yet,” said Raia. “The Clayton Center venue is very special. It was wonderful, and everyone had great time for a great cause,” she said.

Whited said it appeared the group hit their fundraising goal. “I don’t have final numbers, but, unofficially, we raised about $27,000,” he said. “We were shooting for $30,000, and we got real close to that.”

Board member Edward Harper said the gala is one of the chief fundraising events for the Little River Watershed Association. “It is also an event we use to launch some of the awareness about activities of the association. We certainly had a lot of fun with a wonderful atmosphere at the Clayton Center. There was a lot of joking and laughing,” he said. “We had a good, short program. It’s about awareness and raising money for an organization that does a lot to keep the quality of drinking water and recreational waterways pure and clean and pristine.”

Raia said the gala gives the association the resources to be a voice for the Little River and to do outreach work, clean up streams, do quality monitoring and educational programs.

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