MT. VERNON — The sixth annual Amy Center Celebrity Waiter Dinner will take place this Saturday and organizers are hoping to raise at least $10,000 from the event.
Between 185 and 200 people are expected to attend the ceremony, which will be held at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon. The cash bar opens at 5:15 p.m. and the dinner will begin at 6 p.m.
The event serves as the major annual fundraiser for the Amy Center, a children’s advocacy organization serving a seven-county region in South Central Illinois.
“It’s a fun, unique way (to raise money),” said Ladonna Richards, executive director of the Amy Center. “It’s a good way to raise awareness.”
The dinner features local “celebrities” who sell tickets to the event and then serve their ticket holders during the ceremony. The waiter with the most tips at the end of the evening wins a prize.
A theme is selected for each table at the dinner. Past themes have included law enforcement, Willy Wonka, the 1950s, basketball and more.
Also, throughout the evening, the waiters and their ticket holders participate in various fun activities designed to raise additional money, Richards said.
Each year’s fundraiser also includes an auction. More than 30 donated items will be available this time around, including two children’s bicycles, a bar stool, a Bluetooth device, Valentine’s Day prizes and more.
In addition, musical entertainment will be provided by the a capella group The Blend, which performs ‘50s and ‘60s doo-wop music.
The Amy Center receives most of its operational funding from grants, Richards said. However, these funds are designated for a specific purpose and cannot be used for other expenses.
Money generated by the annual dinner can help pay for “extra things,” such as clearing the parking lots of snow, mowing the yard, cleaning the carpets and painting the walls, Richards said.