Kiwanis to host state convention

Published 12:03 am Friday, March 18, 2011

Kiwanis District Gov. Colean Black told local club members Monday that they have an “absolutely fabulous” venue for the group’s annual convention, which will be held in Andalusia this summer.

While there are 4,300 Kiwanians active in the state of Alabama, Rex Jones said the local club is planning to host more than 400 of them here in August.

“There were 286 people when we hosted 10 years ago,” Jones said.

Organizers hope to both bring people to the community and prestige to the local club, known for raising thousands of dollars for local projects through the Kiwanis Covington County Fair.

And there most likely will be a “fair” theme for the convention, for which Larry Avery has already blocked 128 hotel rooms.

Preliminary plans call for those arriving with families on Friday to attend a small version of the fair at the Kiwanis Center, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, cotton candy and five rides.

On Saturday, the district governor plans to have participating Kiwanians be involved in hands-on projects, like Little Dresses for Alabama, a project modeled on Little Dresses for Africa, in which seamstresses make dresses for poor children from pillow cases.

Volunteers also will be asked to help assemble backpacks of school supplies. The Alabama Kiwanis district has partnered with the American Red Cross to have clear backpacks filled with supplies on hand for use when children need supplies because of a disaster. Black said the project began as a preparedness effort for victims of tornadoes or hurricanes. Then she learned from the Red Cross that more than 2,000 children are victims of single family fires in Alabama each year, and that the Red Cross responds to each one.

“They already provide a comfort kit,” she said. “We want to go the extra step and provide a school kit, too.”

Local organizers expect Alabama native Dick Burleson, a civil engineer who also spent 25 years as an SEC football official, to be one of the speakers, and will use both local and state entertainment.