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Exchange Club Fairgrounds to open for loggers’ fundraiser Oct. 22

A group of local loggers will open the Exchange Club Park Oct. 22 for a one-night-only event to raise money for children.

Log A Load for Kids is a nationwide campaign among the forestry community that donates money to children’s hospitals, and the Mississippi Loggers Association has donated over $1 million to the Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson since 1994.

In recent years, the southwestern district of the MLA — representing Lincoln and several surrounding counties — has been a leader in the fundraiser. After raising $49,000 in a two year period, the district was voted District of the Year for 2016, and organizer Anna Smith is working to continue the fundraising efforts for the year.

Smith and her husband, Brian Smith, own Brian C. Smith Logging of Lincoln County.

“Blair E. Batson is a wonderful hospital that helps save the lives of young children every day,” she said. “The things that the families of patients have to witness are truly heartbreaking.”

Smith said the district has attempted various fundraisers in the past, including live auctions and chicken plate sales. But often, the fundraisers were centered around the members of the logging community and their interests — something Smith said she wanted to change this year.

“We wanted to do something the kids would love,” Smith said.

And kids — and their families — love fairs.

The loggers’ association will open the Exchange Club Park from 6-10 p.m., and all the rides, concessions and games will be open for business.

There will also be a silent auction under the pavilion from 6-8 p.m., and the group will be selling raffle tickets at the pavilion. Raffle items include a wooden swing set, a trampoline, a basketball goal, a kid’s cottage and picnic table combo and four bicycles. The drawings for the items will be held on Nov. 11 during the district’s monthly meeting.

Volunteers and sponsors are needed for the event. It’s also a good opportunity for honors students to build up their community service hours, she said.

She can be reached at 601-757-0372 for more information.