By ANGIE CARNATHAN
The 2011 KIDS COUNT Egg Ball takes place at Mississippi State University’s Hunter Henry Center tonight, from 7-11 p.m. The event includes a silent and a live auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks and musical entertainment by The King Beez, a popular rhythm and blues band from Memphis, Tenn.
Tickets are $60 per person and will be available at the door. Proceeds from the Egg Ball will allow youth and their families from across the state to attend the annual KIDS COUNT Summit in February.
MS KIDS COUNT Advisory Board Member Nelle Cohen said she expects the Egg Ball to be big fun.
“What makes it even better is that the proceeds will benefit KIDS COUNT, a terrific organization that is helping to improve outcomes for Mississippi’s children, families, and communities,” Cohen said. “I’m looking forward to working off my Thanksgiving dinner on the dance floor with friends as we support a great cause. You just can’t beat that.”
Janet Mullins, one of the event organizers, said those wanting to watch the LSU vs. Arkansas are in luck.
“We will be showing the LSU vs. Arkansas game on all the TVs in the Hunter Henry Center,” Mullins said. “We made sure we could get the game on because we know a lot of people who are going to be very interested in that game.”
The event features both a live and silent auction. The silent auction ends about 9:30 p.m., so those participating in the silent auction should plan to get there early.
“We are excited about our silent and live auctions,” Cohen said. “Once again, we’ve managed to acquire lots of unique and fun items you can’t get anywhere else. Anyone looking for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts needs to be there.”
Mullins also said guests should not let the word “ball” lead them astray.
“Please stress that this is a casual-dress event,” Mullins said. “We’ll have people coming straight over from the MSU basketball game, and we don’t want them to think they need to worry with changing clothes. We just want everyone to be comfortable and ready to have fun and dance and get pumped up for the Egg Bowl.”
People from all over plan to be at this year’s event, including Sheila Rees of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rees said she became involved with KIDS COUNT through the encouragement of her college roommate, Anne Buffington. She said she is honored to help improve the outcomes for children in Mississippi.
“Living in the greater Cincinnati area does not afford me to actively participate in many MSU campus activities,” Rees said. “This year I have worked with the committee via conference calls on auction ideas, and because the Egg Ball is held during the Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I are able to attend.”
Funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, MS KIDS COUNT operates under the MSU Social Science Research Center’s Family and Children Research Unit. The organization works to investigate issues affecting the health, safety and well-being of children and families statewide.
Buffington, of the Family and Children Research Unit in the Social Science Research Center at MSU, said MS KIDS COUNT provides data that can be used by policy makers and community leaders to make informed decisions for their futures.
KIDS COUNT Director Linda Southward said the Egg Ball is a true collaboration between community volunteers and Mississippi State that has created a wonderful new tradition to celebrate the achievements of MSU athletics while benefiting Mississippi’s children.
“It continues to be a team effort,” said Southward. “We have tremendous support from our community as well as the MSU family.”
A few of the auction items available this evening are:
u A basketball autographed by University of Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt;
u A Crested Butte, Colo., vacation package;
u A cast-signed laboratory coat from the hit TV series “CSI: NY;”
u Individual cowbells autographed by Food Network star Paula Deen and former U.S. President George Bush;
u Dinner for two at Starkville’s Restaurant Tyler with MSU Athletic Director Scott Stricklin and wife Anne, MSU Football Coach Dan Mullen and wife Megan, and MSU Baseball Coach John Cohen and wife Nelle;
u A Taylor Swift music package; and
u Two tickets to the men’s semi-final round at the Regions-Morgan Keegan Tennis Championship in Memphis.
Board chairperson and MSU graduate Wade Overstreet said he is proud of the mission of KIDS COUNT and the value that MSU brings to Mississippi.
“Our state has much work to be done on behalf of our children, but it’s important to remember that good work is being done,” Overstreet said. “Part of KIDS COUNT’s purpose is to highlight this good work and to help organizations across the state replicate these efforts, and the Egg Ball is a fun way to support our work.”