‘Cookies’ anniversary party set for Friday; volunteers, sponsors invited

Published 1:45 am Saturday, February 20, 2016

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of Cookies with Characters, organizers are planning a party to celebrate all of the people who’ve made the fundraiser for Meredith’s Miracles a tremendous success.


The group is inviting current and former sponsors, volunteers and former characters to celebrate the anniversary with cake and punch Fri., Feb. 26, at 5:30 at the Kiwanis Community Center.

Kiley Spears, who organizes the event, said many of the group’s sponsors don’t have kids and have never seen the event.

“We wanted to have them come out when the Kiwanis Center is decorated,” she said. “We also have a short show by Alvin and Chipmunks for them.”

Saun Parker, who has volunteered for the Cookies with Characters event for the past nine years, is Alvin. Beth Johnson, another long-time volunteer and a Straughn High School senior, and a new volunteer, Payton Bullard, will round out the trio.

“The only reason Saun hasn’t been with us for 10 years is that we had this idea the first year that the characters needed to come from outside our community,” Spears said. “We thought at first it would be best if the kids didn’t recognize Cinderella. We pulled it off, but it’s been so much more fun since we realized we could use our kids to be the princesses.”

Cookies with Characters was actually Spears’ brainchild.

“It was a crazy idea,” she said. She had planned to take her son to a similar event out of town, but had to change her plans because he was sick. She later realized the idea had possibilities locally.

“At the time, Meredith’s Miracles had their fish fry, and had just done Valentine sundaes for the first year. They were trying to come up with something else. I went and told them my idea and thought I was done.

“But they looked at me and said, ‘Oh, good. Can you do that?’ ”

They hoped to make a few thousand dollars that first year. When they closed the doors and added up the proceeds, they’d made $11,000.

“From there, it just took off,” she said. “Our community has been so generous about it. We really just want to thank them for all of their support.”

Many former characters and two former junior directors plan to return from college for the Friday night party, and another Meredith’s Miracles superstar, Ellen Foreman, is creating the anniversary cake.

“It leaves me speechless every year of how incredibly Cookies with Characters pulls our community together into one big Cookies with Characters Family,” Spears said. “Hundreds of people have helped through the years and I don’t have direct contact with a lot of them, but it would mean so much to us if you have sponsored a character, have been a character, or have helped with Cookies with Characters in the past 10 years, if you would come and celebrate with us Friday night.”

This year’s Cookies with Characters is set for Sat., Feb. 27.

Doors open for the Silly Show at 11 a.m., with a show at noon. Doors close at 2:30, after children have had an opportunity to have their photographs made with characters.

Doors open for the Glow Show at 4 p.m., with the show starting at 5. Doors close at 7:30 p.m.

This year’s show features more than 70 characters. Admission is $5 per person, which includes a cookie, the show, and autographs.

Advance tickets are available at Harold’s. For information, call 222-2866.