DOBSON — The number 13 is considered unlucky in some quarters, but Operation Katie organizers are expecting good things on the date of April 13.
That is when the annual Katie’s Day is planned at Fisher River Park, an event with an overall goal of building a handicapped-home for a disabled Surry Central High School senior who’s captured the heart of the community.
The day-long slate of activities, from 1 to 9 p.m., will include live rock and other music, a cornhole tournament, a silent auction, a $1,000 giveaway, a car show, food and a motorcycle ride.
More importantly, it is viewed as a time when a group that has mounted a series of fundraisers to help the Katie Bledsoe family will near its $125,000 goal for the house. These have included multiple port-a-pit chicken benefits, including one in late January that raised $5,000 on sales of more than 1,000 plates despite wintry weather.
“This is going to be pretty much the last big fundraiser we’re going to do,” said Anthony Kiger, who is part of the group of about 10 Dobson-area residents involved with Operation Katie. The effort was launched through a Bible study group more than two years ago in response to the student’s plight.
Katie Bledsoe suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 1994 car accident. An accompanying stroke affected the right side of her body and she now spends most of her time in a wheelchair that can’t even fit through the front door of the family’s present home in the Fairview community.
“We’re right at $56,000,” Kiger said Monday of the total raised toward the $125,000 goal, which he thinks will come close to being achieved with the proceeds from Katie’s Day on April 13. Construction, with volunteer help, could begin later this year.
“It’s going to be happening sooner than later,” Kiger said of a target date for the building project which likely will be pinpointed as Katie’s Day approaches. “We’re going to announce something that night.”
A big part of the upcoming event will be the cornhole tournament, to begin at 1 p.m. on April 13, offering $500 to the winning team, $250 for second place and $100 for third. Teams are to check in at 12:30 p.m. that day.
Cornhole, similar to a bean bag toss, is a game in which competitors try to throw a bag, usually filled with corn kernels, through a hole in a board for points.
“We hope to have anywhere from 100 to 150 teams,” Kiger said. The team-only competition requires an entry fee of $40 per group, with registration forms due by April 10. More information about the tournament is available from Will Marion at 336-469-6897.
The entertainment lineup for the Fisher River Park stage will include Double Overtime,a gospel-bluegrass group, Yesterday Lane (Southern rock) and NF52 (Southern rock.)
A “rock ‘n’ ride for Katie” will begin from Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem at 9:30 a.m. that day, and end at Fisher River Park. It requires a $25 registration fee per bike, which will include an event T-shirt. Andy Lewis can be contacted regarding the ride at 336-880-7580.
Other Katie’s Day activities will include a punt, pass and kick tournament, bake sale, prize giveaways, carnival games, bounce houses and face painting.
Admission to the park will cost $5 per person, $3 for children 10 and under.
General information about the gathering can be obtained from Michael or Emily Reeves at 336-755-6838.
Kiger said he and other organizers have been impressed by the outpouring of support for Operation Katie among area churches and the public at large.
“It’s been amazing,” he said.
“It started as a small project and everybody, by now, pretty much knows about it,” Kiger added. “It’s been pretty cool.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.