4/5/14: JA Mardi Gras Trivia Challenge raised the roof plus $12k

The good times were definitely rolling at Mardi Gras Trivia Night held on March 29th.  Hosted by the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC), 140 guests joined 20+ JATC members in the Radisson Hotel ballroom which was festooned with green, gold and purple beads, wreaths and streamers.  The swinging sounds of the Branson High School Jazz Band set a bright and festive mood as attendees clustered around Silent Auction items and queued up at buffet tables laden with jambalaya, red beans and rice, and other Cajun-inspired treats.  Beautifully decorated cake plates held a king cake for dessert at each of the eighteen team tables. 

 Smiling Gris Gris Revelers savor their trivia victory.

Smiling Gris Gris Revelers savor their trivia victory.

 Dennis and Susan Oldacre were very excited to receive the tickets for Frontier Airlines from JA member Sheryl Schiller.

Dennis and Susan Oldacre were very excited to receive the tickets for Frontier Airlines from JA member Sheryl Schiller.

After dinner, the eight-member teams were tested through ten rounds of trivia questions ranging from facts about the Big Easy to TV Theme Songs.  Shannon Thomason, known for his work at the Grand Country Theatre, served as emcee, and thematic musical interludes were provided by Mike and Vonetta Cathcart.  This year’s winners, the Gris Gris Revelers, under the leadership of Captain Paul Norman, took home handmade ceramic mugs (crafted by Ryan Brown from C of O) filled with chocolates from the Fudge Shop in Historic Downtown Branson.  The winning team name will be engraved on the Trivia Winners Plaque.  The Box of Rocks came in second, with Crewe de Google snagging third place.  The evening was capped off by drawing winning raffle tickets. Two round-trip tickets on Frontier Airlines (donated by Branson Airport) were won by Susan Oldacre and $1,000 cash, donated by JATC Sustaining Member Doug Baker of Doug Baker State Farm Insurance, was won by Linda Farris.

 Emcee Shannon Thomason and JA Life Member Suzanne Newkirk ham it up at Junior Auxiliary Mardi Gras Trivia Night

Emcee Shannon Thomason and JA Life Member Suzanne Newkirk ham it up at Junior Auxiliary Mardi Gras Trivia Night

This was the organization’s 14th annual Trivia Night, JATC’s primary fund-raising effort which supports the projects throughout Taney County.  Leadership for the event was provided by Co-Chairs Mary Padgett, and Ginny Hale.  With proceeds from table reservations, winning bids on 160 Silent Auction items and sale of raffle tickets, the event netted more than $12,000.

Each year JATC members assess the community’s needs and establish service projects to address those needs.  Many JATC projects have been sustained for years, such as the College Readiness program and scholarships for seniors from all 4 Taney County high schools, prom dresses for girls in need, stuffed animals for children in the local hospitals, mid-year replenishment of school supplies and hygiene products for Taney County elementary schools, and support for the Hollister School Backpack Program. 

Newer projects include Journey, a mentoring project for young women, and Adopt-A-Cottage at the Women’s Crisis Center, providing home improvement and monetary support for one of the cottages housing abused women and their children.

JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 14,500 active, associate and life members in 101 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.  Their slogan is “Care Today-Character Tomorrow”.  The Taney County chapter, JATC, was established by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1997 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County.  Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours and thousands of dollars as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County.  

 More information on JATC can be found on their Facebook page, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County or via email at jatcmo@gmail.com.  More information on NAJA can be found at www.najanet.org

(Branson Daily Independent, April 4-5, 2014)