Celebrity waiters raise $18,000-plus to fight cancer

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Local celebrities donned, caps, wigs, leather jackets and suits for this year’s annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner of Vicksburg.

Fifteen local celebrity waiters served more than 100 guests Tuesday night, raising $18,383.60 for the American Cancer Society in about three hours.

“This event is so much fun every year,” Michelle Hill of the American Cancer Society said. “Ameristar has been so generous to continue to do this. We just raise so much money for the American Cancer Society every year, helping us find a cure and letting people know they do not have to the cancer journey alone. Hopefully less people will hear the words, ‘You have cancer.’”

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Gerad Hardy, vice president and general manager at Ameristar Casino, said Ameristar was honored to be able to put on the event.

“I know you came out to the support the American Cancer Society, but hopefully you come to have fun, too,” he said to the crowd at the beginning of the night.

The general consensus was indeed that the dinner was a fun way to raise money for a good cause.

“It’s amazing to me because when we first started this event, it was held in the smaller restaurant and it’s just great to see how it’s evolved and the community has embraced it,” Amanda Crawford, who works for the cancer society but was there as moral support for friend Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

“It’s always fun to be here,” Crawford said. “It’s a great time.”

The same sentiment was chaired by two of the event’s waiters.

“I lost a my dad to cancer, and my wife lost her dad to cancer so it hits home, and it’s a fun way to raise money for a good cause,” Phillip Doiron, a first time waiter, said.

Harley Caldwell, who has been a celebrity waiter six times, said she didn’t mind being the oldest waiter there a bit — it just gives her experience to fall back on.

“Over the years, I’ve done so much to raise money for the cancer society and this is such a fun way,” she said.

Doiron won best costume for his 80s exercise costume and then his mid-event change into a Rocky costume.

For the amount of tips they collected that night, Christy Thornton of May and Co. won third place, Patrick Smith of Merit Health River Region won second place and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. won first place, with the event totally more than $18,000 overall.

“We can’t wait for next year,” Hill said.