Veterans along with their family and friends gathered for a day of fun, food, games and entertainment Saturday afternoon at the Waxahachie Veteran’s of Foreign War Post 3894. The event was sponsored by the post’s members and ladies auxiliaries to the VFW.
This was the fourth year for the festival.
“These festivals not only provide family entertainment but are also fundraisers for many organizations that this post supports,” festival chairman Laura Laughlin said.
Several tables were set up with a variety of donated items for a raffle, silent auction and a live auction that included handmade items by post members as well as donated ones.
Among the agencies that benefit from the fundraiser is Cancer Aid and Research, Toys for Tots, VA Patients Day Out, VFW National Home for Children and other veteran related assistance groups.
“We go and pick up several patients from the VA Hospital, bring them to the post for a whole day of real homemade food, games and time away from the stress of being in the hospital environment,” Laughlin said.
Other veteran programs provide personal needs items and phone calling cards for soldiers, particularly those in combat areas.
“There is a home for children and families that provide housing and living assistance for those whose primary wage earner is killed in action,” Laughlin said. “This is our major fundraiser of the year. We are hoping to ring in at least $3,500.”
Many of the live auction items were homemade, but many were donated by local businesses.
“These ladies and the guys went well beyond the call of duty to call on these businesses seeking donation,” Laughlin said. He estimated more than 120 items were donated.
Auctioneer Robert “Mailman” McCuistion began by explaining the rules.
“If you raise your hand you are bidding. If you need to use your hands to talk or wave to a friend across the room, you might ought to sit on your hands,” McCuistion said.
The auction began with a set of signed Ranger tickets.
“These are prime seat seats, what are my bids?” McCuistion asked.
Many of the items were able to be bundled like gift cards to a restaurant and movie tickets to be used as a date night,” Paula Neff said.
Neff was busy throughout the auction keeping up with the bid items and buyers.
Following the action, the post had a Mexican food buffet.
“All of the food was donated by several restaurants. We are thankful for the support they gave us,” Laughlin said.
“The fall festival is for the whole family. Throughout the year, the center is for the whole family. We have many family events throughout the year as well as we do a lot of charity work all during the year. This is a whole family community here,” ladies auxiliary member Susan Neff said.
“We hold these festivals to be able to make a commitment to help the community of veterans and the community as a whole,” Laughlin said.