After anchoring its annual banquet at Panora for the past six years, the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association is beginning to move the event around to other trail communities along the trail, starting with the group’s 2014 event on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the West Des Moines Marriott Hotel.
Also new this year is a major sponsorship for the banquet by Scheels, the West Des Moines sporting goods store.
Magician and comedian Ben Ulin will be the featured entertainer, and the theme of the night is "Raccoon River Valley Trail: It’s a Magical Experience." Fundraising auctions during the evening will offer chances on items ranging from a Tri Rad recumbent tricycle; four tickets to March 11 concert of Crosby, Stills & Nash at the Des Moines Civic Center; original RRVT-themed artwork by cartoonist Brian Duffy; spending a day of planting and a day of harvest with Greene County farmers Doug and Karen Lawton; other merchandise and opportunities.
Several packages with overnight accommodations and meals in communities along the trail, along with a lunch for two with RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz, and a lunch for two and tour of the KCCI-TV studios with news anchors Kevin and Mollie Cooney will be given away.
Tickets are $50 per person, or $500 for a table of eight and are available online now on at www.raccoonrivervalleytrail.org or by calling the trail’s headquarters (515) 465-3577. All proceeds from the banquet and its silent & live auctions go to support the work of the RRVT Association, the all-volunteer organization which does the marketing and promotion of the trail.
Social hour begins at 4:45 p.m. with dinner at 5:30, Ulin performing at 7, and then a live auction at 8:15 p.m.