Ready for the banquet?

The Access Press Charlie Smith Award Banquet is Friday, November 3 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. Our […]

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The Access Press Charlie Smith Award Banquet is Friday, November 3 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. Our award winner has been named but the work isn’t over yet. Readers can help make the banquet a big success. We’d like to see you there and we’d welcome your donations for the silent auction and raffle. We’d also welcome sponsors. Time to donate and buy tickets is now.

The banquet honors the winner of the Charlie Smith Award, named in honor of the newspaper’s founding editor. It’s a great opportunity to honor community members who help Minnesotans with disabilities. The banquet is a great time for friends, coworkers and family members to support the winner and nominees.

This year’s winner is athletes and advocate Mark Braun. Read about him and learn his remarkable life story, in this month’s issue. You won’t want to miss his speech.

Our venue, which is hosting the banquet for the second year, has ample parking and offers a spacious banquet room with great sight lines and easy second-floor access. Tickets are $50 per person and $350 per table. Sign up now for tickets or a table with a business, organization or friends. Enjoy social time, a cash bar, the silent auction and raffle starting at 5:30 p.m., and the sit-down dinner and awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Menu choices are New York steak, wild rice and mascarpone stuffed chicken, and gnocchi for vegetarians.

Attendees can register and pay for tickets online, send a check to the newspaper office or call 651-644-2133.

The popular pick-a-prize raffle, in which tickets are dropped into jars, is a big hit as people can pay very little, try their luck and maybe take home a nice prize.

A silent auction, with bidding on sheets, will also be held. Donations of gift baskets, collectibles, art, gift certificates, new merchandise and more are needed for the raffle and silent auction. Past prizes have included a portable ramp, jewelry jar, electronics, scarves, restaurant and brewery gift cards, theater and concert tickets, framed art, photos, toys, books and much more.

Please call and ask about donations so there aren’t duplicates. Can you or your business offer a product or service? How about a class or day trip? Be creative and make a gift basket to promote a business. Show off knitting, sewing, woodworking or other skills. Make a basket for a movie night, a fondue party, a spa day, or a wine and cheese party. Proceeds benefit the newspaper and its work.

The newspaper is also continuing to seek banquet sponsors. The current roster of sponsors appears elsewhere in this month’s newspaper. There is still time to be a sponsor.

Access Press office manager, Dawn, can answer questions about the banquet, tickets, sponsorships and the silent auction and raffle prizes. Call her at 651-644-2133 or email her at [email protected].



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