OSCEOLA COUNTY – Members of the Osceola County Community Foundation (OCCF) are gearing up for the annual dinner and auction event and have added a theme for a fresh take.

“We’re looking to make it more festive,” said OCCF director of community relations Larry Emig. “It’s one of the big events of the year and being the first event of the season, it’s one of the big events for the snow birds who return for the year.”

Emig said this year’s theme is “Pure Michigan,” and the event will feature gifts, auction items and more reflecting the state.

More than 60 auction items are up for grabs, including golf packages, gift certificates, tickets to see a Detroit Tigers game, food packages, floral arrangements for a year, getaway packages and tickets to see REO Speedwagon, Van Halen and Stix in concert. All have been donated by local businesses and individuals.

The auction’s most anticipated item, however, is the return of an African safari, which Emig said has been a popular draw for years. With these items and more, he said he is hoping to raise a significant amount of money.

“It would be nice to raise $20,000,” he added.

Dinner also is included during the event and will be provided by Pere Marquette Catering.

Emig said the OCCF, which is an affiliate of the Fremont Area Community Foundation, supports a number of grants and scholarships each year. Currently, the foundation has an endowed fund of about $6 million and has given more than $1 million for grants and scholarships. More than $20,000 in scholarships has been given in the last year alone, he added, which cannot be done without the support of those who attend the events and offer donations.

“All financial support is important,” Emig said. “It’s fortunate to have a community that supports the foundation.”

The event, which will take place in the Osceola County 4H-FFA Fairgrounds’ Community Building, will begin with dinner at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. Doors will open at 5 p.m.

“It’s a lot of fun and there’s something for everybody,” added Emig.

Tickets, which are $35 each, can be purchased at the Reed City Chamber of Commerce, Evart Chamber of Commerce, Osceola Grand Hotel, Pere Marquette Catering, Flemming’s Clothing, Holihan’s Drug Store, McCrimmons Farm and Feeds and Osceola County Community Foundation board members.

For more information, call the Osceola County Community Foundation 231-912-1406.