What started out as a pre-Egg Bowl party has turned into a charitable event for researchers on children's health.
Organizers of Starkville's first annual "Egg Ball," featuring a replay of last year's Egg Bowl on the JumboTron from the club level of the Davis Wade football stadium, will raise funds to benefit the Mississippi Kids Count.
For $60, guests can indulge in heavy hors d'oeuvres, dance to the beat of Beale Street's very own King Beez, participate in an auction filled with items donated by alumni, such as trips and handmade children's clothes, and help crown an Egg Ball king and queen by donating money toward nominated names.
Guests can catch a bus ride to the Egg Bowl in Oxford the next day along with a boxed lunch for $100.
The casual party starts at 8 p.m. on November 26, giving MSU fans an opportunity to attend both the ball and the State basketball game, said KIDS COUNT researcher Dr. Linda H. Southward.
J.C. Patton remembers the first Egg Ball party five years ago that evolved out of a tailgate.
"Since then we've had it every year," he said.
Kids Count produces annual data on children's health that is so comprehensive, researchers and grant writers use it as their "bible" for information of Mississippi's children, Kids Count chair Wade Overstreet said.
"I think what's most important about Kids Count is we're now moving away from just collecting data and presenting best practices on making children healthier, better educated and safer," he said. "We know that people in our state are looking for models on how to prove the statistics related to children's health and wellness. And we're proud that we can provide those models."
The fourth-generation bulldog will attend the ball along with the competitive fundraising tailgate in Oxford, resulting in this year's slogan "Coming together for one victory."
Nelle Cohen, who serves on the advisory board for Kids Count, said the organization is critical for addressing health issues families face in Mississippi.
"We want to get Mississippi out of the 50th rank," Cohen said.
Janet Mullins, one of the founding Egg Ballers, said that when Kids Count contacted them about making the party a fundraiser they jumped at the chance.
"We hope it becomes a big tradition and I believe it will," she said.
To purchase a ticket, contact Vicki Katz at 615-9613.