Feb 29, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterThe decorative masks worn by many of the attendees could not hide their enjoyment Saturday at a Mardi Gras celebration that benefited Child Development Services of Fremont County.
Event coordinator Ricci Larsen, assisted by Cinde Pfisterer, led a live auction that saw an outpouring of support for the agency that helps children ages birth to 5.
"The money that we brought in so far, it looks like our first tally is around $67,000, and that is without expenses deducted yet," said agency executive director Lori Morrow on Monday.
"We are still getting donations coming in today," Morrow said. "We're thinking it will be around $60,000 when all is said and done."
The money raised at the event will help the agency as it pays for a new building in Riverton and a remodel project at its Lander facility.
"Just in terms of the fact the state coffers are not doing so well, it's so nice to see in the community they can rally around and support us to help offset some of those expenditures," Morrow said.
Morrow credited Larsen's work in organizing the soiree at the Fremont County Fairgrounds, which raised significantly more than the previous year's event.
In 2011, the debut event raised about $8,000 for Child Development Services of Fremont County.
"Last year we paid for a good share of the prizes," Morrow said, adding the event this year benefited from businesses and individuals donating all auction items.
"We were able to raise a lot more money that way," she said. "We had lots of people donating, lots of businesses donating items to us, small to big."
She credited the work of Larsen, her staff and the community's support to make the event a success. "We couldn't have done it without everybody," she said.
At the celebration, artist Jon Cox revealed his puzzle painting, which consisted of 24 pieces, each selling for $100. Each buyer painted the piece according to the design on the surface, and the finished product came together for the attendees to view Saturday.
Many party-goers wore elaborate masks as they wined and dined. Following the meal that was served by The Caterers, Nick & Slick provided the evening's musical soundtrack.
"We sold 320 tickets," Morrow said, compared to about 230 in 2011. "We sold out a week before the event, we sold out at 320. We had 12 corporate tables, which was great to have that many."
Many silent auction items were paintings created by the children attending Child Development Services.
"We didn't have any left over," Morrow said. "All of them went or were donated back to the center. Overall we just had great comments on everything that happened that evening."
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