by Jeanne Travisono
HUNTLEY – The Huntley Project FFA Alumni Sweetheart Ball is not just a fundraiser, it’s a chance to re-do that high school prom, without all the high school drama.
“People call it the ‘Big People Prom,’” said Lisa Lile, the non-profit’s committee chairperson. “You get dressed up, get your hair done, the whole works. It’s fun.” There will even be a professional photographer on hand to commemorate the occasion.
This year’s ball will be held Saturday, Feb. 13, at Chancey’s Event Center south of Huntley, instead of Homesteader Hall. The change of venue will allow more people to attend and make the evening more comfortable. At Homesteader Hall, with 60-plus couples attending, they’d all have to get up while tables were taken down to make room for dancing, Lile said. At Chancey’s, there is a permanent dance floor and the tables can stay put. The venue will have room for about 30 more couples.
The event is the sole fundraiser for the FFA Alumni Association, which contrary to its name, is open to anyone wishing to support the local FFA chapter. Most members now, said Lile, don’t even have children in the FFA. Everyone is welcome to join. “The only requirement is a desire to help the FFA,” Lile said. The association has been shrinking and now there are only five or six active members. “We don’t want it to die,” Lile said.
The money raised from the ball all goes to the FFA kids. There is a loan program as well as scholarships available.
“We made our first loan this year to a student who bought four or five bred cows. When she sold her calves this fall, she paid part of it back,” said Lile. Last year, the association paid out $7,500 to help FFA students attend the national convention, and awarded nearly $6,000 in college scholarships.
The evening includes a live auction and two silent auctions. A social hour runs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with a cash bar, followed by a steak and shrimp dinner at 7 p.m., catered by 4 Sisters Catering of Worden. The first silent auction ends at 7 p.m. while the second one ends a little later. The live auction follows the dinner, and immediately after the auction, Exit 53 will play music for dancing until 2 a.m.
A breakfast brunch will be served at 1 a.m.
Tickets are available until Jan. 31 and cost $50 per person or $100 per couple. Contact Pam Bilyeu at 967-2263, or Lisa Lile, 855-9002, for tickets.