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Loggers planning one-day fair at Exchange Club Park

Loggers in Lincoln County hope they’ll top last year’s donation of $33,000 for Blair E. Batson Chldren’s Hospital Saturday as they open Exchange Club Park for a one-day fair.

The park will be open with rides, food and games from 6-10 p.m., said event organizer Anna Smith. The Bingo area under the covered pavilion will be open from 7-9:30 p.m. Armbands for unlimited rides are available for sale for $10. Admission and parking is free.

The Log a Load for Kids fundraiser is the biggest for the Mississippi Loggers Association.

“Everything went wonderfully,” Smith said after last year’s event. “Everybody had a good time.”

Log A Load for Kids is a nationwide campaign among forestry organizations to raise money for children’s hospitals, and the Mississippi Loggers Association has donated over $1 million to Batson, the only children’s hospital in the state, since 1994.

Last year was the first time the southwestern district of the MLA held the fundraiser at the Exchange Club Park, and it was big success for the district which represents Lincoln, Pike, Copiah, Lawrence, Walthall, Marion and Hinds counties.

“It’s a fabulous number,” Smith said. “A lot came from out of town. They weren’t familiar with the Exchange Club Park, so it was really good for them to be able to see it.”

Smith said the district had organized several different kinds of fundraisers over the years, but when it was her turn to organize the event she wanted to do something the kids would enjoy.

“Blair E. Batson is a wonderful hospital that helps save the lives of young children every day,” said Smith, who owns Brian C. Smith Logging of Lincoln County with her husband, Brian. “The things that the families of patients have to witness are truly heartbreaking.”

The group sold nearly 600 armbands last year. The rest of the money donated came from food and game sales, donations and sponsorships.

She said the Exchange Club, which helps them with the event, was surprised at the turnout. They’ll be running the rides for the loggers again this year. The MLA will also be assisted by volunteers from the Copiah-Lincoln Community College nursing program who are earning community service hours.