Junior Civic League’s Big Party is every bit its name

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 314 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — For the Fayetteville Junior Civic League, this year’s annual Big Party might just have been even bigger than “big.”

More than 300 people packed into the special events room at Mermaids Seafood Restaurant Friday night (April 13) for a night of great food, dancing and silent auctions.

Guests danced all night to the throwback tunes of the band Old School while enjoying an extensive buffet provided by Mermaids. Guests spilled into the adjoining bar, where patrons shared in the music and fun.

“I believe this is a great opportunity for people to come out, have a great time and bid on fabulous silent auction items, all in a great environment, while at the same time meeting fundraising goals,” said Lisa Mayer, the league’s current president.

Silent auction items included everything from gift baskets to Kansas City Royals tickets and a cotillion membership to condo rentals.

Ticket sales and corporate sponsorships together helped raise more than $65,000, a great increase from last year’s $59,000, Mayer said.

Proceeds will go to local organizations that provide aid to local women and children in need, such as the Elizabeth Richardson Center, Life Styles Inc., LifeSource, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Northwest Arkansas, the Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club, among others. Funds also go toward scholarships for students in the Fayetteville Public School system who may not otherwise be eligible for scholarships.

“These are grant recipients that we have a history with, and they have a proven track record,” Mayer said. “They give very specific requests that might otherwise go unmet.”

The league chose just 11 recipients, a decrease from years past. Scaling back on the number of beneficiaries is based on the league’s desire to make a more of an impact with the funding it provides, Mayer said. Checks will be doled out on May 11.

The Fayetteville Junior Civic League is also celebrating its 61st anniversary this year. It’s come a long way since nine local women founded the organization in 1949. The founding members broke off from the American Federation of Women’s Clubs to avoid paying national dues and to keep all funds raised in Fayetteville. Now, the organization boasts 50 members (The organization keeps its membership at 50 because they meet in one another’s homes).

“What I like about it is the sense of community it gives. It’s 50 women who, when we come together, not only raise money and dedicate endless hours of volunteering, but build relationships with each other and the community,” said Jill Hollis, last year’s president.