By Tammy Hilderbrand
It’s a chance to have a great time, and at the same time raise money for a great cause. That’s how Lance Inman characterizes the “Halloween BATFEST” being held Saturday, Oct. 25 at McLane Park in Poplar Bluff.
The event is being sponsored by Lucas Edington of Mossy Oak Properties, Mozark Realty and by Inman with SLAMA Softball Club. The coed softball tournament is to raise money and awareness for Poplar Bluff’s Child Concern Center.
The Child Concern Center is an organization designed to help provide clothing, diapers, food, utilities and other emergency items for area low income families in need. The group was originally organized by the women of Poplar Bluff’s First United Methodist Church over 35 years ago. Now the organization is a 501(c)3 group registered with the State of Missouri. Its staff is all volunteer.
Inman describes BATFEST as a Halloween-themed tournament. “Players get to dress up in their favorite scary costumes or as super heroes. It’s going to be a very kid-friendly atmosphere with a lot of activities for kids, too,” said Inman. Some of the children’s activities include three-legged races, apple bobbing, face painting and potato sack races.
Twelve teams are expected to participate. “We will have three pools of four teams each in three fields playing. Each team gets three games in the pool play. After pool play, we will have a single elimination tournament to determine a champion,” explained Inman.
Each team will consist of five guys and five girls. Homeruns will be limited to three per team, and as an additional fundraiser, homerun bracelets will be available for $10 per player. Inman said that this event got its start back in January when he and Lucas Edington were talking about ways they could help the Child Concern Center, a favorite cause for both of them.
“I’ve hosted several charity tournaments in the past, like for UCAN and March of Dimes. So we decided this would be a good event for the Child Concern Center,” explained Inman. “Everyone loves dressing up for Halloween, and we know a lot of people love softball,” said Inman. “So this just seemed to be a natural combination.”
Inman said that a lot of people are not aware of Child Concern Center and all it does for the community. As a lifelong resident of Poplar Bluff, he’s seen the work they do, and feels it is very important for our community.
Trophies and awards will be given out to the players for best costume and other categories.
“We really want to make this a fun atmosphere for everyone, and we hope to raise a lot of money for this group. They certainly deserve it,” concluded Inman.
The event organizer said along with money raised through the tournament, the group will be accepting monetary donations along with clothing for all ages, toys for Christmas, non-perishable foods, toiletries and baby items, especially diapers of any size.
Entry fee for the tournament is $175 per team without team t-shirts, or $225 with team t-shirts. Each team will play a minimum of 4 games. Those with questions may call Inman at 573-718-1936 or 573-614-4446.