Village Crawfish Festival Generates Big Donation to Head Start
Soggy crawfish party, food, fun and music aids Head Start of Shawnee Mission
Rain didn’t keep more than 600 people from partying New Orleans style at the 9th Annual Village Crawfish Festival on April 24. The event raised $18,500 for Head Start of Shawnee Mission.
In the photo: Crawdaddy Jon Ratliff; Mary Kay Roberts, Development Coordinator of Head Start of Shawnee Mission; Terrie VanZandt-Travis, Executive Director of Head Start of Shawnee Mission; and Crawdaddy Brian Short. Photo credit: Graham Greene.
What began nine years ago as a neighborhood party has become a source of undesignated funding (donations that are not earmarked for a specific program and can be used toward operating expenses) for Head Start of Shawnee Mission. Festival attendees put the fun in fundraising by consuming nearly 700 pounds of crawfish and more than 400 pounds of barbecued pork and danced to Ernest James Zydeco. Remaining food was donated to City Union Mission.
“The weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits,” said Steve Coon, one of the festival’s founders. “We appreciate the support of our sponsors, particularly Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Midland Loan Services and Boulevard Brewing Co.”
This year’s total exceeded last year’s amount, which also went to Head Start of Shawnee Mission. Part of the additional proceeds came from a raffle of items donated by local merchants, which raised more than $1,000.
Local volunteers, including members of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and a number of Head Start of Shawnee Mission staff served food, cleaned up and kept the party going.
On a soggy night, many of the revelers spent much of their time in the band tent, dancing to Ernest James Zydeco, which again provided the proper music for a Louisiana-style party. Prairie Village Mayor Ronald L. Shaffer was among those enjoying the food and fun.
“The food was great, the music was great. Rain or shine, it was an outstanding party,” Shaffer said. “This is the kind of neighborhood spirit that makes Prairie Village a great place to live.”
Head Start of Shawnee Mission now has additional funding during a challenging economy. The organization’s waiting list has grown from about 250 a year ago to 360.
“This is a great event to be part of, and we really thank the organizers of the Village Crawfish Festival,” said Terrie VanZandt-Travis, executive director of Head Start of Shawnee Mission. “This will help a lot of local families who are in need.”