The Upper Arlington Education Foundation's annual party bringing the community together to celebrate and support local education returns to the Tremont Center next month.
The UA+Ed's annual Golden Bear Bash has raised $849,179 since its inception to support programs, materials and education opportunities that exceed or go outside Upper Arlington schools' operating budget. The 11th annual event will be held from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Tremont Center.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at GoldenBearBash.com. Organizers note it has sold out the past four years.
Included in this year's $60 ticket will be food from 27 restaurants and a chance to see Doc Robinson, a band described as "backyard barbecue, break-up music."
There also will be 300 items up for bid in a silent auction, and a live action that will include tickets to the Ohio State-Michigan football game catered for 50 at Dawson Headquarters, 1114 Dublin Road, Columbus.
Proceeds will go to the UA+Ed's unrestricted fund, which provides projects and materials funding.
"The Golden Bear Bash has become a great UA tradition," said Alice Finley, UA+Ed program and project specialist. "It takes a lot of planning to create a venue from scratch – tents, lighting, sound, bathrooms, a menu including 27 food donors, 300 auction items and more.
"There may be easier ways to raise funds, but we look at it as a labor of love, not just by our trustees but by everyone who donates their times, talents and treasures to make our event such a success."
Finley called the Bash a fundraiser and a "friend-raiser" for local schools and the UA+Ed. She said that's how the event was envisioned by the organization's trustees when it was established in 2007.
"We wanted our community to know who we are and what we do," she said.
As it approaches the $1 million mark in funds raised from the Bash, UA+Ed executive director Joanie Dugger said community support is as important as ever.
She noted that education opportunities are expansive; proceeds from the bash allow the UA+Ed to continue operations and find new ways to help the schools reach and inspire students.
"We have over 60 endowed or designated funds set up for specific purposes," Dugger said. "But because education continues to evolve, and because our teachers are innovative, there are always grant requests for amazing projects that we've never heard of before.
"We've given grants for Dash & Dots, Osmo Kits, Breakout EDU Kits. We can't wait to find out what idea our staff members will bring to us next."
Superintendent Paul Imhoff said the bash provides important support to the district, and added that it's another way to supplement the delivery of local education.
"Our community values education, and that is really evident at the Golden Bear Bash," Imhoff said. "It's wonderful to see so many people from across our community come together to celebrate the amazing things happening in our classrooms and to support creative learning opportunities for our students."
Additional information about auction items, drink tickets and the UA+Ed is available at GoldenBearBash.com.
New to this year's party will be mobile bidding for the silent auction, allowing attendees to submit and check on bids from their smartphones. Finley said the new feature should add a touch of modern convenience and could spark friendly competition.
"Our goal is to have a fantastic party that sheds light on the outstanding experiences our students are having in the UA schools and celebrates our community's dedication to education," Finley said. "Along the way, we will raise money, and if we can help our supporters understand the importance of their generosity, we know that we will raise what we need to 'enhance what matters most' in the 2017-18 school year."