Looks that channeled grunge, Britney, hip hop, skate punk, the TV show "Fresh Prince" and the movie "Clueless" made Big Night guests 'all that and a bag of chips' at The Jones Center's 90s-themed annual benefit Nov. 3 at the center in Springdale. Event guests helped the nonprofit organization bring in some $300,000.
The 11th annual event was replete with neon lighting, video game rooms, glow-in-the-dark curling and other retro opportunities to 'get jiggy with it,' while Dial Up 90s band performed hits from the decade.
Proceeds will help support The Jones Center's activity and membership scholarship program, which provides access to swimming, ice skating, hockey, arts and STEM programs, summer camps and fitness classes. Organizers say. More than 1,300 people benefit from Jones Center scholarships annually.
Anita Villafranca, whose family is an activity scholarship recipient, expressed her gratitude to those gathered saying, "We have been taking martial arts classes for more than a year, and we are currently at the blue belt level. We are very grateful for this incredible opportunity. Without it, we wouldn't be able to participate not only in martial arts, but in many other fun activities and resources that Jones Center has to offer to our community. Each of my family members has been impacted in different ways, not just in our physical health, but also in our mental health. Having the commitment to go to class every Wednesday and Thursday each week has become a part of our lives. Participating as a family in our martial arts class has allowed us to strengthen our relationships by opening new channels of communication."
"Having this opportunity has impacted us in a very positive way," she continued. "We met wonderful people who have guided us to explore activities that we didn't think we were skilled enough to do and we gained lots of tools that will stay with us for the rest of our lives."
Save the date for Big Night 2024, which is set for Nov. 8.
Laura Rush, Walmart senior vice president of electronics, toys and seasonal, and Bill Bowen, Tyson Foods senior vice president of sales served as honorary Big Night co-chairs. Along with Villafranca, the evening's speakers included Jones Center board member Jane Ewing, Walmart senior vice president of sustainability; Terri Trotter, Jones Center president and CEO; and Mike Klaas, General Mills sales director.
Big Night presenting sponsors were Tyson Foods and Walmart. Other sponsors included General Mills; Unilever; The Hershey Co.; Procter & Gamble; Spectrum Brands; America's Car-Mart; ConAgra Brands; Cox; MGA Entertainment; The Schmieding Foundation; Simmons Foods; Arvest Bank; Bonduelle Fresh Americas; Civitas Inc.; Milestone Construction; Ocean Spray; and Walker Brothers Insurance.
For more event photos -- nwaonline.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].