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Ritz on the River: Sellout crowd dances the night away to Cuban theme for Warrior Bonfire project at convention center

When asked about Thursday’s Ritz on the River, Vicksburg Convention Center Executive Director Annette Kirklin had one word to describe the event.

“It was epic,” she said. “The community embraced this event like no other time. To see everybody come together, dress up and have fun on the dance floor and also be able to give the largest donation from Ritz to such an important program like Warrior Bonfire, the reason we were there came full circle. We were together as a community and gave back to an important charity.”

The Vicksburg Convention Center held its Sixth Annual Ritz on the River Thursday night,  with entertainment from Salsa Mississippi and the 12 South Band as the featured attractions. Advance tickets were $50 each and the event sold out.

Ritz is an event put on by the convention center, with a portion of proceeds benefiting a charity each year. This year, that was the Warrior Bonfire Program, an organization for military service members who have been wounded in combat operations.

The Vicksburg Convention Center presented the organization with a little more than $4,000, the largest donation in the history of Ritz on the River.

Event attendees traveled to Cuba as the Vicksburg Convention Center was transformed for the Havana Nights-themed event. Many guests came in costume, with men wearing untucked shirts, open toe shoes and fedora hats. Women donned floral and brightly colored dresses with flower accessories in their hair.

Bistro tables with colorful fedoras lined the walkway as guests entered the convention center and made their way to the escalators. A silent auction, photo booth and lighted “CUBA” sign met guests as they made their way into the banquet hall.

Dinner tables were decorated with boxes filled with coffee beans, tea candles and a “Thank you for spending a night in Havana postcard” as centerpieces. Bright green lanterns hung from the ceiling and each guest had a picture frame at their place setting that served as the party favor. Complimentary photos were available at a photo booth to put inside the frames.

The event’s decorations were done in-house by the convention center’s team.

Dinner was prepared by Palmertree’s Catering and included romaine salad, ribeye steak, cuban black beans with rice, squash cake and caramel cheesecake and churros for dessert.

Guests were entertained during dinner with a dance showcasing Salsa, Samba and Bachata by Salsa Mississippi and the presentation of the donation to the Warrior Bonfire Program. After dinner, the party started when the 12 South Band took the stage. The band is a high-energy and interactive 12 piece Nashville-based group that uses choreography, costume changes and special effects.

Kirklin is proud of her team for putting together another successful Ritz on the River.

“They each have a talent and combined, they make magic,” she said.

The event was sponsored by Mutual Credit Union, Ergon, Lady Luck Casino Vicksburg, RiverHills Bank, Vicksburg Convalescent Home, City of Vicksburg, VenuWorks, Crews Grady PLLC, Visit Vicksburg, Ameristar Casino Hotel, Billy Powe Event Lighting & Sound, CSpire, Caffe Paradiso, Cannon Motors of Mississippi, Guaranty Bank & Trust Company, Helping Hand Family Pharmacy, International Paper, May & Company, Riverwalk Casino and Hotel, Terry Service, Inc., Trustmark National Bank, Varner, Parker & Sessums, P.A, Vicksburg Insurance Agency, The Vicksburg Post and Waterview Casino and Hotel.

About Catherine Hadaway

Catherine Hadaway, as The Vicksburg Post’s publisher, oversees the business operations of the newspaper. She is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis where she earned bachelor’s degrees in Business and Religion. She is a Director of Boone Newspapers, Inc., the family company that owns The Post. Catherine comes from a long line of newspaper publishers, starting with her grandfather, Buford Boone, who served as publisher of The Tuscaloosa News and earned journalism's highest honor when he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his editorial titled "What a Price for Peace." Catherine is a member of The Rotary Club of Vicksburg, Vicksburg Young Professionals, The Heritage Guild and The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

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