story and photos by Brittany Ransom
The new year might have already started, but that didn't keep Christ the King School in Fort Smith from celebrating an "Endless Summer" with a Denim & Diamonds themed party on Saturday (Aug. 23) evening.
Hosted at the church's parish hall, the annual soiree featured a rustic theme, complete with mason jars, lanterns, and a lemonade stand. Party-goers decked out in their best blue jeans and jewels to celebrate the school and enjoy food, drinks and a number of exciting games.
It was a bidding war during the evening's live auction, as guests battled for the chance to win a number of packages that included destination getaways, Mardi Gras and Cross My Art parties and gift certificates. Several church and school perks were also up for grabs, including reserved parking spots at CTK mass for one year, and premier school parking during school hours and events.
A silent auction was also held, featuring a wide-range of prizes. Items included one-of-a-kind art, a bicycle, and children's birthday packages,. Guests could also test their luck in the wine pull, 50/50 raffle, and gift card drawing.
Television news reporter Heather Lewis and her husband Curt Buechter served as the evening's emcees. The pair greeted the crowd and kicked-off the live entertainment by welcoming crowd-favorite Ultra Suede to the stage.
Tickets for the evening were $50. Originally a fundraiser for Christ the King Church, the Endless Summer Party transitioned to an event exclusive to the school nearly a decade ago.
"Christ the King Church hosted Endless Summer Party before the school inherited it as an exclusive Annual Appeal Fundraiser," said Principal Ann Cannon. "Our school has been celebrating 'Endless Summers' for almost ten years now."
The event serves as CTK's largest fundraiser bringing in between $20,000 and $30,000 to support Catholic education.
"All money raised supports our school's Annual Appeal Fund which benefits the school by lowering the gap between the cost of tuition and the actual cost to educate a student per year," explained Cannon.
A long-standing tradition for the community and church, the event draws hundreds of parents, staff, supporters, and alumni every year. More than 200 were in attendance on Saturday night.
"Many couples and friends come back year after year to celebrate Christ the King School, Catholic education, and renew the bond of friendship that forms in this setting and within our school community," noted Cannon. "This night is about sharing the opportunity to continue providing a strong faith-based foundation for our children but also celebrate the accomplishments and friendships formed while attending Christ the King School whether in the past, now, or in the future.