The 20th annual St. Jude S’travaganza will be held on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3 at the new Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds on Hwy. 49 between Jonesboro and Paragould.
As usual, agriculture will be represented in a big way.
The fundraiser is in honor of Donna Cathcart, who died of a rare form of brain cancer when she was nine years old. Her parents, Susan and Fred, owners of Valley View Agri-Systems in Jonesboro, organized the first event in 1994 to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where Donna was treated. Over the past 19 years, they’ve raised over $2.3 million.
T.J. Thompson, an engineer with Valley View and one of hundreds of volunteers for the event, says the new venue at the fairgrounds has at least 10,000 square feet of additional space, and the opportunity to raise record funds for St. Jude. “We’ll have a huge silent auction. A lot of good items are coming in for that already. We’ll have awesome food and between 20 and 30 big screen televisions tuned to the big game. We’re shooting to raise $400,000 in 2013.”
Gates open at 3:30 p.m. A $125 per ticket buys a buffet dinner of shrimp, crawfish, smoked chicken and ribs, plenty of flat screen televisions for watching the game and silent auction for the children of St. Jude. For more on the event, visit http://www.valleyviewagri.com/view/84 .)
Corporate donations of labor, equipment, food, prizes, money and items for silent auction are crucial to the success of the fundraiser. Over 350 silent auction items were donated in 2012. While non-agricultural industries have come on board over time, about 75 percent of the businesses involved are agriculture-related.