Pep rally sees ‘exceptional’ attendance 2,000 golf balls dropped for Vicksburg Family Development

Published 12:29 am Sunday, August 8, 2010

“The biggest crowd ever” turned out on a sultry day Saturday for the 12th annual citywide pep rally, initiating the new school year and helping raise more than $10,000 for Vicksburg Family Development Services with a Kiwanis-sponsored golf ball drop.

“It was just fantastic,” said Margaret Gilmer, general manager of Outlets at Vicksburg, site of the pep rally every year. “The kids had a great time — the cheerleaders, the bands, all the kids were just so excited about it this year. It was exceptionally well attended — the best crowd we’ve ever had.”

The Vicksburg Kiwanis Club and VFDS sold more than 2,000 golf balls at $5 each for the ball drop, said Charlie McKinney, Kiwanian in charge of the event which brought back a popular fundraiser after a four-year hiatus.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Proceeds will go to the center, which provides parenting education, prenatal classes and a preschool program that benefits about 130 families, and also mentors area youths to prevent teen pregnancy and alcohol and drug abuse.

Notified recently that a state grant had been cut more than $32,000, VFDS co-directors Kay Lee and Felicia Jones said the fundraiser couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We are most grateful,” Lee said. “It is much needed.”

Bands from both Vicksburg High and Warren Central High schools performed, along with cheerleaders from VHS, WCHS, St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel high schools, Gilmer said.

This year’s rally also featured a play day sponsored by Project SYNC, the Vicksburg Warren School District program funded by the Safe Schools-Healthy Students grant, which raffled T-shirts and offered information to a steady stream of visitors, said Tracie Young, early intervention coordinator.

Snacks and drinks were being sold at booths set up by VHS, Bovina Elementary, Bright Morning Star Church and other organizations.

Late in the morning, a helicopter dropped at least a dozen buckets of golf balls on the green nearby, with prizes awarded for the three balls landing closest to the pin.

McKinnie said the first-place winner, who asked to remain anonymous, donated the $1,000 prize back to VFDS. Three others won prizes, but they had not been notified Saturday evening.