The debut fundraiser was presented as a full-costume character ball and was attended by a crowd of children, parents and grandparents. It featured a variety of events intended to entertain young children and engage family members in order to deliver the Council’s message about the impact family involvement has on literacy.
“Studies on top of studies show that while professional educators obviously have a clear and important impact on students, it is the parents--and most specifically, the mother--who exert the greatest influence on a child’s lifetime attitudes toward reading, learning and classroom success,” said Jane Rierson, President of the Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community and Human Resources Director at Mannington Mills.
“Family Literacy Month is a celebration of events and activities that are fun and family- oriented,” Rierson continued. “The Council worked hard to plan and present an event that put friends and relatives together in a party that featured entertainers, games and decorations underlying the importance of family literacy. All the event features—right down to the buffet menu—tied back to storybook themes and Disney Classics.”
“Once Upon a Time” began with a fully appointed Cinderella Carriage Ride. A beautifully crafted pumpkin-shaped carriage drawn by two white horses and attended by formally attired groomsmen, circled through downtown as it picked up and dropped off guests.
At the Harris Arts Center, guests were greeted by characters from Beauty and the Beast, who serenaded them with the classic song “Be Our Guest,” and then ushered them up stairs lined with pumpkins and twinkling lights. The Fork Diner catered the dinner buffet.
Guests entered the Harris Arts Center theatre, which had been transformed into a party room decorated with flashing balloons and filled with activity stations.
Two art tables were available with supplies for the children to color and construct party masks. Snow White and Captain Hook presided over an activity table, which provided face-painting and balloon artistry.
Onstage, a mock Cinderella Carriage provided by Gordon Central High School served as a photo scene. The stage was bordered with giant children books.
Kaytlyn Reese and Andy McCloud, music teachers from Gordon County Schools and Calhoun City Schools, performed as Cinderella and Prince Charming. They sang several songs from the Disney film as they waltzed across the theatre, inviting guests to join them on the dance floor.
A magic carpet ride was an event hit, as children climbed aboard the rolling platform and were wheeled around the theatre by Aladdin and Jasmine. Peter Pan and Ariel also were on hand to keep the children entertained.
The closing event was a drawing for a Disney Cruise, made available through Sandventurescapes Travel, owned by Bill and Christina Long.
“Once Upon a Time” was sponsored by Andy Baxter Photography, Calhoun City Schools, Calhoun First Baptist, Downtown Calhoun, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Gordon County, Gordon County College & Career Academy, Gordon County Schools, Gordon Hospital, Jim Lay, Kiwanis Club of Calhoun, Vaughn & Clements and Winter & Scoggins, CPAs.
The Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community seeks to promote literacy, literacy awareness and adult education in Gordon County. It is a member agency of United Way of Gordon County.