CASA of Harrison County will welcome guests to a “Night in the Haunted Forest” as they host the CASA-tume Costume Ball from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Plaza at 200 E. Beach Blvd. in Gulfport.
One of the fun attractions of this ball is the accompanying costume contest. Anonymous judges select winners from the crowd to receive cash prizes at the night’s end. Gaye McDaniel, event co-chair, said past contest winners include a crew of Smurfs, a scarecrow, zombies and a peacock.
“We’ve had everything from professional makeup to Disney creatures,” McDaniel said.
Adding to the fun will be a photo booth and the opportunity to bid on silent auction items. A few of the standout auction items are George Ohr pottery, a weekend stay at an Orange Beach, Alabama, condo and Biloxi Shuckers tickets.
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Entertainment will be provided by 5 Finger Discount. The four-piece New Orleans band plays a heavy helping of top rock songs from the 1970s and 1980s.
There will be a cash bar and included with the ticket price will be a buffet and heavy hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants.
The ball is a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization CASA of Harrison County. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provides a voice to neglected and abused children. Advocates meet with the children, discuss their situation and speak for the children’s needs in court.
According to CASA, Harrison County leads the state in the number of children affected by abuse and neglect and has more than 780 children in foster care.
Roy Kitchell, executive director for CASA of Harrison County, said that’s more than Atlanta. He said he often is asked why the rate is so high in Harrison County.
“I get that question all the time, and I just don’t know,” he said. “There’s a lot of poverty and drugs — methamphetamine —and that can tear a family apart. It’s a silent crisis that very few people know about.”
CASA has nearly 80 advocates who help with their cases, and the ball helps fund advisers for those volunteers.
Tickets are $50 in advance or $65 at the door. They are available at www.casaharrisoncounty.org or by calling 228-697-6544.