Stillwater News Press

January 31, 2013

Advocacy organization to hold gala on Feb. 9 at Payne County Expo Center

By Chase Rheam
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Love may be in the air in February, but a local nonprofit is hoping that hands of auction goers will be, too.

The 2013 CASA Valentine Gala, “A Very Vegas Valentine,” is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Payne County Expo Center.

Program Director Carmen Miller said this is the 13th year the event has been held.

“It’s going to be a very exciting evening,” she said.

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, works with children who are abused or neglected and in Department of Human Services custody, Miller said.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with appetizers, an open bar, a silent auction and casino-style games, including the Lucky Dice game. A participant pays $30 for one roll or $50 for two rolls of the dice and they are given a box corresponding with their number.

“They can win airline tickets from Southwest, jewelry and concert tickets,” Miller said. “There’s almost 100 prizes in that game now.”

Every single participant who pays to play gets a box and every box contains a prize.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said. “You don’t lose.”

The buffet will also be open with food, including garlic- and herb-grilled chicken on garlic bow tie pasta with roasted red pepper alfredo sauce and countless other meals and desserts.

At 7:30 p.m., the gaming tables close as local artist Wade Tower takes the stage to perform. Tower will take an intermission at 8:45 p.m. and boxes from the Lucky Dice game will be opened together.

A live auction under the direction of auctioneer Greg Pickens will then take place.

“I am very impressed with the things that we are auctioning off this year,” Miller said. “Our Board members have found some amazing things.”

Among the items are a five-day, four-night resort vacation in Cancun, a John Deere tractor, an all-day guided fishing trip and use of the Oklahoma State University presidential suite for 16 guests at the Oklahoma State University vs. Texas basketball game March 3.

The silent auction closes 10 minutes after the live auction ends.

The buffet closes at 9 p.m., but Tower will come back for the second half of his performance following the auction.

Miller said she is hoping for a big turnout.

“The most we’ve ever had is 350,” she said.

She said the turnout is extremely important as this is usually CASA’s largest fundraiser.

She said they’ve had outstanding support from volunteers.

“We’ve seen the volunteers make life-changing differences for these kids,” Miller said.

Miller said funding cuts from grants have started to become more over time.

“The funding cuts are starting to catch up with us,” she said.

“Each year the fundraiser becomes more and more important.”

For open seating, tickets are $125 each. A reserved table of 10 is $1,500. For more information or tickets, call 624-2242 or visit www.casaforkids.com.