The Cartersville-based Etowah Scholarship Foundation is hosting "Tailgating with the Etowah Scholarship Foundation" Thursday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m. at Taylor's Lake on Taylor's Farm off Highway 113 in Cartersville. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children under 18. Attendees will be able to enjoy barbecue and other food offerings from several area establishments as they get into the football season spirit.
"Football's big in the South, and I think early August, people start wanting football season to get here sooner than later, so I think it's the perfect time to get people excited, students will be starting school soon," said Paige Miller, executive director of the foundation. "It's just a great community fundraiser to raise awareness for the foundation and get people excited about football."
Miller said that while about 200 people attended last year's inaugural "Tailgating" event, an estimated 200 individuals have already bought tickets to next month's offering. She said foundation officials hope to sell more tickets in the weeks to come.
"I think one of the reasons people should support it is [this is bringing] big football names into Bartow County," she said. "I think that helps further put Bartow County and Cartersville on the map so that our reach goes a little bit further each year when we try and reach out for scholarships or corporate scholarships -- more people have heard of us and it just really helps build awareness for the foundation, not just in Bartow County but also north Georgia and towards the Atlanta area."
Special guests to be featured at the event will be Wes Durham, sportscaster for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Atlanta Falcons; Loran Smith, sportscaster for the Georgia Bulldogs; and Tony Barnhart, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Mr. College Football" and author of "Southern Fried Football: The History, Passion, and Glory of the Great Southern Game." Each will speak on sports topics and then open it up for a question-and-answer session.
Herschel Wisebram, one of the foundation's ex-officio board members and a "Tailgating" organizer, said that while fans may be able to see or hear the three guests through other avenues, the event affords them the opportunity to see and hear them firsthand.
"There's the excitement of being there and seeing them in person," Wisebram said. "Some people like to get an autograph and some people just like to meet them, the people they see on TV or hear on the radio."
"It is a lot of talk about football, but it's a lot of fun, a good way to meet new people and just kind of interact with the community," Miller said. "I went to Georgia and my dad's a football coach, I love the sport, but for me, if I were not the director, I would go to support the community and just to get involved and see what's going on, and I think it's a great opportunity to do that."
In addition to the guest speakers, the event will feature a live and silent auction that will see bids taken on a variety of sports memorabilia, including signed items from UGA football coach Mark Richt, Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and former Atlanta Brave Hank Aaron.
Proceeds from ticket sales and the auctions will go toward the foundation's general fund. Wisebram said support for the event is important as the foundation works toward improving the amount of scholarship money it gives amid the tough economy of the last few years and increased demand from those seeking assistance to pursue a college education.
"This year, [the foundation] gave $112,000 in scholarships -- three or four years ago, they gave $187,000. If we raise $10,000, that is another six or seven scholarships," he said.
For those who may prefer fashion over football, the foundation on Nov. 4 will bring back another previous fundraising event as it hosts its third-annual "All About the Bag" purse auction at Stonewall Manor in Cartersville. Tickets -- $25 for regular admission and $50 for VIP treatment, which includes early entry into the event, reserved seating and a commemorative glass -- will be sold starting in August.
For more information on both events, including ticket details or how to volunteer or make donations, contact the Etowah Scholarship Foundation at 770-382-1757 or email@example.com.