The Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish will hold its Gatorganza from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 24 at Grand Ridge Golf Club, 500 Willowdale Blvd., Luling.
“Theoretically, it is the second function of this type,” Christine Trevett, Alligator Festival Director of Events and Sponsorships. “When Katrina prevented the festival in 2005, they did a fundraising dinner by the same name. I am told the event was successful and the club was still able to award that year’s scholarships.”
Trevett said the idea to do the Gatorganza was threefold: To add an additional fundraiser for the scholarship foundation to supplement festival funds in case of bad weather, catastrophe, etc.; to give the public a preview of the festival food and to celebrate the Alligator queens on a successful year.
One dollar tickets will be sold at the event. These tickets will be used for not only the parade of prizes, but will be used to vote for their favorite festival food and their favorite Karaoke singer.
Awards will be presented to first, second and third winners. Food from 16 Alligator Festival vendors will be there for all to sample. Place the dollar ticket in the jar to vote for a favorite food(s).
The Alligator Festival Queen (who is also the LAFF queen) and Teen will be there along with queens from other festivals.
A photo booth will be available for pictures with family, friends, festival queens and the Alligator mascots. Peruse the parade of prizes and place dollar ticket(s) in the bag next to the item(s) desired. From 7 to 9 p.m., there will be music for dancing and entertainment and at 9 p.m. karaoke. Visitors can vote for a favorite singer with the dollar tickets.
Prizes will be awarded before 10 p.m.
Rotary Club President Victoria Bryant said the Food Vendor Competition is a new endeavor with the Gatorganza.
The competition will allow the Food Vendors to present a sample dish for tasting. All attendees will have the opportunity to sample food from food vendors.
The vendors will be judged based upon sample dish, food presentation & booth display. The winning booths will receive first, second and third prizes with also a chance for the ‘People’s Choice Award.’
“St. Charles Parish is a tight-knit community that comes together to support its’ own,” Bryant said. “Education is key to the continued growth and development of our future generations. How will this community sustain itself and ensure economic stability if not for the investment into our children? Well, St. Charles Parish Rotary Club recognizes the need to aid in that development and invoke an attitude of ownership to return back to your community to ‘Pass it Forward.’”
The Gatorganza is an extension of the Alligator Festival, she said.
Funds raised will support scholarships for students not only attending a four-year university, but also investing in students who plan to attend a vo-tech school. Rotary’s theme this year is “Rotary Connects the World,” however, this event focuses on Rotary connects St. Charles Parish.”
Festival spokeswoman Kelsey Pollock said Rotary awards eight four-year college scholarships and two vocational/technical schools to Destrehan and Hahnville high school students. Every spring, students from Hahnville and Destrehan High Schools submit applications and a panel of Rotarians conduct interviews with the applicants. Based on their application and questions raised by the Rotarians, five students from each school are selected.
“We hope our increased fundraising efforts will allow us to increase the numbers of scholarship recipients in the future,” Pollock said.
The event will feature a festival food competition, silent auction, parade of prizes and raffles, and music and karaoke.
Tickets are $50 each. They are available at AlligatorFestival.org/Gatorganza.
All proceeds benefit the St. Charles Rotary Club Scholarship Foundation.