It's no surprise to Todd Trenchard that "The Jolly" sold out immediately.
The golf tournament that is part of the annual two-day fundraising event named for the late Jolly McCarty has room for about 260 golfers. Most of those who pre-registered for the four-person scramble at $250 each have played every year, said Trenchard, executive director of the Bacot/McCarty Foundation.
"Spots fill up as soon as it's announced," he said.
The golf tournament will be Saturday, May 14, at Shell Landing in Gautier with a double-shotgun start at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
But the party starts the night before at the Jolly McCarty Memorial Gala, which will be 6 to 10 p.m. May 13 at IP Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi.
Some 1,000 guests are expected to pack the casino ballroom for the gala, which Trenchard said is the "must attend" event of the year.
Despite the Friday-night date, the theme is "Saturday Night Fever" and guests are encouraged to dress accordingly.
Entertainment for the night will be provided by Doctor Zarr's Amazing Funk Monster.
The gala's silent auction is always a highlight of the night, Trenchard said. Among this year's auction items will be works created by Coast artists, vacation packages and unique merchandise. Some items are worth thousands of dollars, he said. "We're still working on a couple of surprises," he said.
Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts will be on hand to greet guests.
The Jolly tournament and gala each year raise more than $400,000, which goes to nonprofit organizations and schools in South Mississippi.
Since it began 12 years ago, the two-tiered benefit has raised more than $3.5 million.
McCarty, who died in 2003, was known throughout the Gulf Coast for his generous donation of time and energy to area charities, organizations and schools.
The Bacot/McCarty Foundation is named for McCarty and the late Ed Bacot, another Pascagoula man who used his influence to benefit the less fortunate in South Mississippi.
For tickets to the gala or general inquiries, call 205-0225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.