On Friday, April 8, from 7-9 p.m. the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce will hold its first annual Adult Spelling Bee at the Millsboro Civic Center.
Mitch Rogers, who is heading the event, said that the format is less stressful and more fun for those who choose to participate.
“The format is teams of four, so it’s not where you stand up in front of a podium singly and recite the letters. They’re going to write the letters on a marker board so we’re going to have our chamber be judges of you will and they’re going to have a list to compare to,” he explained.
Rogers noted that those individuals who are interested in participating but lack three other team members can contact the Chamber and they will put together a team. He hopes there will be 10 to 20 teams participating.
“Obviously the more teams the merrier,” he said.
Rogers, who came up with the idea, said the Chamber had been discussing the idea for a Bee for a few years and decided it would be a great way to raise money.
“We were looking for a new project to take on and we put our heads together and thought that would be a great and fun event to have.”
The teams of four can pay an overall registration fee of $100 to participate in the event, which will benefit the Chamber’s scholarship fund for high school seniors living in Millsboro and Dagsboro.
“We actually have applications each year for persons who apply for the scholarship and we have a weighted scale with different parameters. In the past we’ve given out one or two $500 scholarships and in this way, we’re trying to increase that. This is what we’re hoping to juice it up with. Here we’re going to sweeten the pot a bit or give out more,” he said. Adding the Chamber hopes to net $1,500 from the event.
The Bee will also have McBuzz the mascot buzzing around the entire evening, meeting, greeting and getting the audience involved. Rogers, who is also the MC for the event, will choose what words teams will be asked to spell.
“It’s a pretty secret process but I am looking at different word lists and then I’ll just be choosing them randomly from different lists, with more difficult words round by round.”
As for Rogers’ personal preference in words, he said that “occasion” has always been a favorite and difficult word.
“It is a tough one. Are there two ‘c’s and two ‘s’s, or not,” he chuckled. Adding that it would not be one of the Bee’s words.
Teams will be given 45 seconds to write down what they collectively believe to be the correct spelling of the word. If the spelling is incorrect the team has the option to buy into the following round.
“As a team they can pay $25 to get into the next round, otherwise we’ll have a little ceremony and we may even sing to them as we pop their balloon, McBuzz will do a little dance and we say ‘goodbye.’”
The winning team will be presented with a Bee trophy and each will receive a gift certificate to Luca Ristorante & Enoteca. The Chamber is currently soliciting for door prizes, which will be given out during the event.
If businesses aren’t interested in creating teams to participate, Rogers said that the Chamber would happily accept sponsorship toward other teams or donations.
Rogers said that the Bee will create some good-hearted rivalry and be a fun annual event.
“It is an adult spelling bee so we’re looking for high school seniors and above in age. But if teachers want to compete against the kids in school or other schools…there are a lot of rivalries that can be created,” he said. “What I hope happens is that we get several teams from different industries and next year we can talk up industry competition, so have the banks against the banks and the papers against the paper, that kind of stuff.”
Audience members are encouraged to come and participate in the fun for $2, which includes a wine and dessert tasting.
“It’s more about fun and pride and those kinds of things. We’re hopeful that each participant brings at east someone from work or a family member to cheer them on… We’re looking for great audience participation.”
Rogers said he hopes that the Chamber’s fundraising efforts will be successful and that all who come out for the event will have a great time.
“This is a special occasion and hopefully an annual occasion here in Millsboro. We’re really looking forward to having a lot of fun with it.”
Spelling aficionados should register with the town by April 4 by calling (302) 934-6777.