Biz Bee poster

The Literacy Council of Alaska’s 29th annual Biz Bee is Thursday, but the online auction is already up and running. Proceeds benefit the important work this organization provides for the community.

The Literacy Council of Alaska promotes literacy for people of all ages in the Interior. The organization provides student-centered tutoring and classes for adults in reading, writing, math, English as a second language, computer literacy and other life skills.

Director Mike Kolasa provided this quick update:  “ESL classes are going well online and GED classes have gone to a 1:1 tutoring format. We currently lead the entire state in GED graduates.”

The Biz Bee is always a fun celebration of this important work. Teams often compete in costume and spectators are also encouraged to decorate their audience table. Audience numbers are limited this year, due to Covid, but that should not stop table decorating from happening. The winning table gives their team a free pass on a word during the Biz Bee. 

As of this week, an estimated 20 teams are signed up to participate.

“People are pretty enthusiastic,” Kolasa said. Most of the businesses that usually participate are signed up, along with some new faces.

Audience members can also participate in a written spelling bee for spectators, by the way.

The 20 teams signed up for this old-fashioned spelling bee will find their tables scattered throughout the Gold Room, instead of at one end of the room on tiers, due to Covid distancing protocols. Despite a limited audience, the event will still be held live at the Westmark Hotel Gold Room beginning at 7 p.m. The Literacy Council is hoping to livestream the event.

Tickets for the Biz Bee Raffle can be purchased at the Literacy Council’s Forget Me Not bookstore, online, or at the Fairbanks Daily News-MIner, which sponsors the  Biz Bee. First-place takes home Alaska Airlines roundtrip airfare for two. Second place is $500 cash. Third place is a 1 dwt. Weight gold coin from local gold. Raffle tickets are $5 apiece or five tickets for $20.

The Biz Bee Silent online auction can be found at www.literacycouncilofalaska.org. Bidding ends at 8 a.m. April 21. For more information call the Literacy Council at 456-6212.

 

Covid Quilt

A community quilt will begin taking shape this week, honoring those who have died of Covid-19. The quilt will be made up of memorial heart-themed squares submitted by people who have lost loved ones, near and far, to Covid-19.

Cabin Fever Quilters and the Tanana Valley Fair Association are collaborating on the project and will begin making and collecting quilt squares this week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 24, 25 and 26 at the fairgrounds’ upper Totem Building. The final quilt will go on display at the Tanana Valley Fair.

Quilters can bring their own 91/2-inch square or make one there. And here’s the good news — you don’t have to be a quilter to participate in this project.

“Pick out a fabric pattern, we can sew it for you,” said Kat Helmuth of the quilters guild.  “We’ll have extra sewing machines there. We’ll also have volunteers who can do the sewing.

“We will also have stuff there if people want to just come and use extra fabric or squares already made. We’ll have fabric pens there and people can write the name of a person they lost and sign it.”

“I know it’s heartbreaking,” she said, for families who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.

If you bring in your own quilt square, make sure to leave a half-inch border for including the square in the quilt. And write the name of your loved one on very light fabric — yellow or white or cream — so it shows up well. Choose your own color scheme.

“We’re anticipating having more squares than can fit on a single quilt,” Helmuth said. “We might have to do more than one quilt and that’s fine. Or it might turn into a gigantic quilt. We don’t know what to expect.”

The hope is that the quilt will then be displayed throughout the community after the fair.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.