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Chamber hosting adult spelling bee
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PALM HARBOR – The Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce will host its first adult competition spelling bee at The Centre on Friday, Sept. 27. The fund-raising event supports education through the Chamber Foundation, which advocates student and educational programs.

“We are really excited to have the opportunity to offer this event to businesses in Palm Harbor. By sponsoring a team, they will sponsor education,” said board of director member and committee chairwoman Susan Long. “Part of the proceeds will benefit Foundation scholarships, provide financial assistance to local schools programs and support the educational endeavors of students.”

A business can sponsor a team of four for $250. Team members can be employees of the business or the business may elect to choose a schoolteacher, PTA or staff committee member from greater Palm Harbor area Pinellas County schools. In addition, a business can sponsor a whole team of four teachers. Up to 25 teams are expected to participate.

“We want this to be a family, fun-filled event and we really want the support of the students and the parents to come and support their teacher,” said Long. “Imagine how excited these kids are going to be if their teacher is on the team.”

Participating teams will choose a theme, colors and name. Prizes will be awarded for best themed costumes and, of course, best spellers. A light dinner will be served to teams prior to the commencement of the competition.

A team of four contestants will spell words from the approved 2013 Scripps Howard word list. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is held in the Washington, D.C., area annually. Participants include students from countries such as Canada, China, Mexico and others. The event is open to all students who have not yet completed eighth grade or reached their 15th birthday.

The Palm Harbor spelling bee tagline touts, “bee brilliant, bee supportive, bee involved,” said Chamber CEO Connie Davis.

The idea for a spelling bee evolved from a recent Chamber committee meeting, said Davis, and from Davis’ sister who lives in Cleveland. Reaching Heights is a community nonprofit that supports excellence in public education in the Cleveland area. It has held a successful competition spelling bee for a number of years.

Although definite Scripps Howard rules must be followed, local Palm Harbor competition rules do not correspond exactly to those of the national competition. For example, during the first two rounds, team members and their supporters may buy bribes. A team may “bribe” its way back into the competition for incorrect spellings thereby eliminating early withdrawal. A bribe costs $20 and three bribes cost $50. Beekeepers will work through the audience, answering questions and collecting “buzz bucks” from those who want to buy a bribe for their favorite team.

A queen bee will moderate three increasingly difficult rounds. A team captain determines the correct spelling of the word from his or her team and that word is written on a white board within 30 seconds.

In the last round, the bee pollinator will “buzz” incorrect spellers and eliminate them from the completion. Losers will sit out their remaining time on the sidelines in the beehive.

Members of the community are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served before the show.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors. Students can attend for free. Accommodations are for about 300 people. The Centre is located at 1500 16th St. Event hours are from 6 to 9 p.m.

Different business sponsorship opportunities and benefits are available that range from a queen or bumble bee sponsorship for $5,000 to $1,000 to a honey or worker bee sponsorship for $500 to $250. A busy bee sponsorship is available for $100. Sponsor perks include free tickets, advertising opportunities, sponsor recognition, gifts and more.

For more information on sponsorship packages or to purchase tickets, visit www.p­almha­rborc­ or call 784-4287.
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