BROOKSVILLE — Lara Bradburn recalls a day last year at a meeting of Friends of the Children Inc. when she and other board members were reminiscing about the "old days." It reminded her of one of her favorite charitable events: the annual college football kickoff sponsored by the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
"It was such darn good fun," said Bradburn, a Brooksville City Council member. The event, she recalled, was a "fun, interactive rivalry, but all were on the same team for the cause."
At Bradburn's suggestion, the board decided it was time to resurrect the event. The timing was perfect, she added, because "this time, we have even more incentive with the (Florida State) Seminoles being the national champions," she said with a laugh, referring to her alma mater.
The 2014 College Football Kickoff Party will be Saturday evening at the Jerome Brown Community Center. It will include a barbecue dinner, door prizes, raffles, a silent auction, games, a DJ and a cash bar.
"When (Bradburn) suggested it, we all thought it was a great idea," said Mike Walker, Friends of the Children chairman and Brooksville parks and recreation director.
Friends of the Children is a nonprofit organization that provides recreational and educational programs that benefit children and families. The organization puts together the annual Operation Backpack and presents the Movie in the Park events at Tom Varn Park in Brooksville.
Walker said that this year Friends of the Children gave away 600 backpacks filled with school supplies.
"It was awesome," Walker said. "We accommodated everyone who was here. We didn't have to turn anyone away."
He said the success of these events has been made possible by individuals and business sponsors. With the addition of the football kickoff event, he hopes more can be accomplished.
"We are hoping to make this an annual fundraiser to relieve some of the (financial) pressure," Walker said.
He encouraged fans of any team to come out Saturday and wear their school colors. And if anyone has music of their college fight song, that's welcome, too.
"The end deal is it is an incredible amount of fun, and all for a good cause," Bradburn said.