UW supporters party before the big game

WEIRTON – Supporters of the Weirton United Way started their tailgating a day early while helping to raise money for the local organization.

The Weirton United Way’s “Big Game Tailgate” Saturday served as the final fundraiser for the organization’s 2013 campaign, which has been aimed at raising $260,000 for 13 member agencies.

In its fourth year, the event saw a packed house at the Serbian-American Cultural Center, with close to 300 people estimated to be in attendance.

“I think we’ve exceeded our numbers from last year,” Weirton United Way Executive Director Kristin Bowman-Cross said.

With many attendees decked out in their favorite pro football team colors, the event featured music, food and a variety of prize opportunities.

“I hope you had a good time,” Event Chair Scott Winwood told the gathered crowd. “We certainly had a good time putting it on.”

Items in the prize drawings Saturday included a variety of sports memorabilia, signed Pittsburgh Penguins and West Virginia University items, tickets for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Wheeling Nailers, jewelry, coins and a grill set.

The grand prize drawing was $1,500 in gas, provided by First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union and WTOV-TV.

There also was a silent auction for a Weirton Madonna football helmet signed by the members of the 2013 West Virginia Class A championship team.

The Weirton United Way’s member agencies include the American Red Cross; Boys and Girls Club of Weirton; C.H.A.N.G.E., Inc.; Community Bread Basket; Dunbar Recreation Center; Girl Scouts Black Diamond Council; Hancock County 4H; Hancock County Sheltered Workshop; Hancock/Brooke/Ohio/Marshal Retired and Senior Volunteer Program; Mary H. Weir Public Library; Salvation Army Weirton Corps.; Weirton Christian Center; and the Weirton Medical Center Foundation.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, or followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)