The Pratt Gamma Beta Sorority raised funds for various organizations and charities at their fourth annual quartermania where participants bid quarters for new jewelry. The theme was "Senoritas and Margaritas" and the event featured lots of jewelry, a big homemade dessert bar and a meal provided by El Dos De Oros.

Paddles with numbers were held high and quarters clinked in bowls as ladies anxiously waited to find out if they would win a piece of jewelry being shown around the room.

This was the scene at the fourth annual Gamma Beta jewelry and accessories Quartermania fund raising event, "Senoritas and Margaritas."

About 140 gathered March 3 at the Pratt County Fairgrounds to help Gamma Beta raise money for a variety of organizations. There was a Mexican theme with brightly colored decorations, a bounty of desserts provided by the sorority members and an array of jewelry items going to the lucky person with the right number on her paddle. A silent auction also drew a lot of attention.

Gamma Beta is a women's service organization that uses funds from its two yearly events to help organizations achieve their goals, said Susan Teske, Gamma Beta charter member.

"We make money to give it away," Teske said.

The vast majority of the funds is raised at quartermania and at their craft show in December goes to local organizations, said sorority member Kris Adelhardt.

In the past funds have gone to Vernon Filley Art Museum, Pratt Fire Department, Pratt Public Library remodel project, USD 382 and USD 438, Pratt Area Humane Society, proms, B-29 Bombers on the Prairie Museum, the Pratt Regional Medical Center mammography and labor and delivery units and Lemon Park Lights.

One of their most recent donations was $1,000 that went to purchasing playground equipment for handicapped children that will go into Sixth Street Park. This program is in conjunction with Pilot Club.

When the sorority sees a need, they hop in with the funds from their events to help make dreams a reality.

For Quartermania, sorority members donate all the jewelry. They are on the look out all year long for pieces they can buy for the event. Funds are raised through ticket sales, paddle sales and quarter donations. Each participant gets a free bidding paddle and can purchase extras for an additional $5. Jewelry items are presented and it costs one, two or three quarters for each paddle to have a chance to win the item. Each paddle has a number on it and there is a corresponding number in a bowl. If a person wants a particular jewelry piece they put in their quarters and hold up their paddle. Numbers are drawn until a match is made with a paddle bid and that person gets the jewelry.

There is also a silent auction with more jewelry and handbags.

While the event is fun and ladies get some very nice jewelry, it is through the participants generosity that makes it possible for Gamma Beta to help these organizations.

"We give from our hearts just like the ones who support us," Adelhardt said.

The members of the sorority get involved for their own reasons. Teske said it was her way of giving back to the community.

Adelhardt said her family had been on the receiving end of a donation and she wants to help make a difference in someone else's life.

While the purpose is serious, its also a lot of fun for the participants who are encouraged to dress up for the occasion. Theres a chance to get some very nice jewelry, spend some time with family and friends and enjoy some excellent desserts and a good meal, this year provided by El Dos De Oros.

A photo area with props is also available and there are some families that had three generations in attendance. Music for the event was provided by Anel Cox aka "D.J. Baby Face." Members of the Sorority acted as hostesses while several teenage boys, including Dylan Cox and Grant May, assisted with presenting items, drawing numbers, collecting quarters and clearing tables.

@GaleR_Tribune