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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Tri-Valley welcomes guests to annual gala

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jim Pitts and Cynthia McFarlin, right, look over some of the silent auction items availble at the Eighth Annual Friends of Tri-Valley Foundation Mardi Gras Gala on Tuesday night at the Liberty Theater.
(Laurie Sisk/Tribune)
An unmistakable New Orleans feel set the tone on Tuesday night at the Liberty Theater during the Eighth Annual Friends of Tri-Valley Foundation Mardi Gras Gala.

This was the third year the gala has been held in Fort Scott.

"Fort Scott has always been very supportive," Tim Cunningham, executive director of Tri-Valley Developmental Services said. "We've held the gala in Chanute and Iola and we get very good support from both of those communities, but Fort Scott, by far, surpasses both of them."

Cunningham also hinted that the third gala in Fort Scott may not be the last.

"As long as we keep getting this kind of support, we will keep coming back," Cunningham said. "It's been fantastic."

Proceeds from the gala will be used to help the Friends of Tri-Valley Foundation build homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

"Right now we have three homes in Fort Scott that are owned by the foundation. We have two in Humboldt, one in Iola and one in Chanute," Cunningham said. "We actually have more homes here than we do anywhere else. We are excited about that. Hopefully after tonight, the RV drawing and the golf tournament, we will be able to build another one."

Cunningham said Tri-Valley also uses money from an RV drawing and a golf tournament to help build houses and also said he hopes to raise $20,000 from the gala.

Cunningham said about 150 advance tickets were sold, but tickets were also being sold at the door, bringing Tri-Valley close to selling out of their 200 available tickets.

Guests were treated to a prime rib dinner, twice-baked potatoes, salad, bread and a dessert.

Pat Harry of Fort Scott provided the musical entertainment for the evening and Chris's Photography of Pittsburg provided complimentary photos. Mark McCoy, Deb McKenney and Kevin Allen, all of Fort Scott, served as emcees for the event.

The event also featured a silent auction of items donated by Hollywood celebrities including autographed photographs from popular television shows like Desperate Housewives, athletes, authors, artists, universities and colleges, as well as area businesses throughout Allen, Bourbon, Neosho and Woodson counties. There also was a live auction at the gala.

Items included in the auctions also included vacation trips to Breckenridge, Colo. and Branson, Mo., tickets to Silver Dollar City, a basketball signed by the 2012 University of Kansas men's basketball team and a football signed by K-State football coach Bill Snyder.

As for the venue, Cunningham couldn't have been happier.

"We are always excited to be here in this beautiful building. We love being here at the Liberty Theater. It's such a beautiful building with such an ambiance to it," Cunningham said. "It kind of adds to the excitement."

Cunningham also said the gala provides a chance to show-off Fort Scott a little.

"It's an opportunity for us to showcase Fort Scott to other communities because we have people come from Chanute, Yates Center and Iola," Cunningham said. "It's also an opportunity for us to raise some money to build an additional house."

Tri-Valley provided bus service for guests from Chanute and Iola to Fort Scott, which was included in the $35 ticket price.

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