GCA prepares for annual Winter Fest

Published 10:25 am Monday, November 28, 2022

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On Tuesday, November 29 Grace Christian Academy will be hosting their biggest fundraising night of the year as they host the 22nd Winter Festival. GCA is not only excited to put together all the moving parts of the festival but is also thankful excited to see the Cougar community come together and enjoy a night full of family and fun.

In the past years, GCA’s winter festival has raised around $40-45 thousand for the school but surpassed that goal in 2021 as they raised nearly $70 thousand. Organized by marketing and PR director Kellie Dollar and her team of 11 ladies, Dollar and her team are tasked with putting together an event full of moving parts.

“We usually start planning in September and it is our main focus from September up until the day of the event,” said Dollar. “Every year I think to myself there is no way we are going to pull this off but every year God comes through and makes everything happen.”

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The first component of Winter Fest is the outdoor area of games. Rides, bounce houses and carnival games are set up outside for kids and students to enjoy starting at 4:30 p.m. going to 7:30 p.m. People can purchase armbands for $25 a person and if arm bands are purchased ahead of time they will receive 25 raffle tickets for the student raffle.

The student raffle features some of the hottest gifts on every teenager’s Christmas list including air pods, gas gift cards, restaurant gift cards, bluetooth speakers and designer crossbodies.

As the event heads into the evening hours and moves indoors, families can enjoy concession items from Dixie Dandy as they can indulge in a dinner of barbeque, chicken tenders, nachos and more.

“When we put on winter fest we want it to be an event for the whole family and we want to make it where they don’t have to leave,” said Dollar. “That’s why we have things for kids outside, food and auction events inside.”

Inside there are many things for families to enjoy including the elementary grades singing Christmas carols and an art booth where parents help kids build things such as ornaments that they can buy and give out as presents.

The silent auction consists of around 150 items that have been donated from local businesses such as jewelry, massages from Care360, a lesson package from Bainbridge Tennis, Christmas decorations and more.

The live auction is the main attraction of the night that consists of around eight to ten items that can value up to around $10 thousand dollars. The live auction items are items that people cannot necessarily buy on the market and are more experience based. Live auction items include a week stay in the mountains of Elijah, Georgia in a cabin, a dinner for 12 at Southwind Plantation, a jewelry chest from Bishop’s jewelry, George Strait concert tickets, a puppy and a beach house vacation at Mexico beach.

Something different that GCA is doing for their raffle this year is handing out cash prizes, rather than a specific item. The first drawing will go for a thousand dollars cash, the second drawing will go for $1,500 dollars cash and the third drawing will go for $2,500 cash.

Regardless of the prizes and the drawings, the GCA Winter Fest is a night to celebrate community and enjoy the growth and success that GCA has seen each year.

“Every year at the end of the event I always just take a sigh of relief and ust thank God because there are so many moving parts and things that have to go right that we really just have to give up to God because without him this wouldn’t be possible,” said Dollar. “It is just a great night to see everyone come out and come together with smiles on their faces.”