Library system fundraiser in Ellicott City lassos more than $90,000

There was plenty of noise, laughter and smiles Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Howard County Library System held its premiere fundraiser, "Evening in the Stacks: Sparkle and Spurs," at the Miller Branch in Ellicott City.

More than 600 attended, and more than $90,000 was raised, according to Christie Lassen, the system's Director of Public Relations.

"It was amazing," Lassen said. "People really came out and supported the event. And though it wasn't a costume party, a lot of people wore cowboy hats and cowboy boots."

And by the time the four-hour party ended, Lassen could tell people had had a good time.

"You know everyone is having a good time when you turn on the lights and no one wants to leave," Lassen said.

The celebrity bartenders — Mickey Gomez, Tom Coale, Vicki Goodman, Kristi Simon, Paul Skalny and Dick Story — raised more than $2, 200, according to Lassen. She said more than $1,000 had been raised through online donations before the evening began.

"The celebrity bartenders were great," Lassen said. "They really got out there an encouraged their friends and family members to support the event."

For the second straight year, Gomez, the Executive Director of The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, was the top celebrity bartender, raising more than 600 in tips, according to Lassen.

The event, which began in 1998, supports "our signature educational initiatives," said Lassen, "such as Battle of the Books, Rube Goldberg Challenge, DEAR (Dogs Educating and Assisting Readers), HCLS Spelling Bee, Money Matters Fair, and HCLS Project Literacy."

Lassen added that "people in this community like to support the library," and that it does make a difference.

"We appreciate the community's support for this annual signature event. It's support like this that allows our educational initiatives to flourish," she said.

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