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03 Jun 10 Smiles for Habitat a Big Success

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The Smiles for Habitat Concert and Family Festival held this past Memorial Weekend was bigger than its first two events in 2008 and 2009 setting a new record for both attendance and revenue. Despite a delayed start because of lightning, the

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concert and festival were an immense success. Drawing a crowd of 12,000 fans, Smiles for Habitat eclipsed its 2009 attendance of 8,000. Sales of t-shirts, raffle tickets, and concessions during the concert event brought in $40,000, more than doubling the concert’s 2009 proceeds. Following a Memorial Day tribute which included a powerful rendition of the National Anthem by former Nashville singer Christie Taylor and a flyover by World War II era airplanes, the concert began with McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller issuing a proclamation declaring the Sunday before Memorial Day as Smiles for Habitat Day in McKinney. Maylee Thomas, who performed with her band during the concert, helped Mr. Loughmiller celebrate his 50th birthday on stage by leading McKinney residents in singing “Happy Birthday.” The drum line from McKinney Boyd High School performed while athletes from all three McKinney high schools carried collection buckets throughout the crowd. The concert featured three bands to entertain the crowd. The opening band, sponsored by Dodie’s Place Sports Grill, was Dallas-based guitar virtuoso Tommy Katona. Following Mr. Katona was McKinney favorite The Maylee Thomas Band. Headlining the evening was Gavin DeGraw who entertained thousands of fans with his upbeat original music. Screaming fans enjoyed his performance and lined up to get his autograph after the concert. Mr. DeGraw says he had a “blast on stage and is very happy to have been a part of this event.” The festival entertained thousands of local children and featured rock climbing, bounce houses, Games 2U video games, and the ever popular large inflatable hamster balls. Entertainment Photography, the official event photographer, is selling photographs of the concert and festival and will donate fifty percent of its sales of Smiles for Habitat pictures back to the charity. Proceeds from the 2010 Smiles for Habitat Concert and Family Festival will go towards the Habitat for Humanity home of McKinney resident Tracy Sawyer and her two sons, Eric and Josiah. Tracy, an Alzheimer’s nurse at Provident Living Center in McKinney, received a presentation on stage from Smiles for Habitat founder Dr. Jennifer Buchanan. The 2010 Smiles for Habitat Concert and Family Festival was made possible by generous donations from local businesses and corporate sponsors such as Simpson Strong Tie, Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, Pogue Construction, Crest Auto Group, Torchmark, Dr. Don Nix, Zimmer Wilson Phillips, Dodie’s Place Sports Grill, KLAK 97.5, Independent Bank, RSC Equipment Rental, Medical Center of McKinney, HGTV, Chili’s Restaurants of McKinney, Print Right, Olive Garden, MediaGrafix, and many more. Under the direction of founder Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, Smiles for Habitat was organized by twelve dedicated McKinney women who share her vision and friendship. Additionally, more than one hundred McKinney residents volunteered their time before and during the concert to ensure the event ran smoothly and safely. The mission of Smiles for Habitat is to bring the community together to change the world one family, one home at a time. By offering free admission to the concert and festival, Smiles for Habitat encourages the entire community to be involved and to donate at their own level. The stories told by families realizing their dream of home ownership thanks to Smiles for Habitat and the North Collin County Habitat for Humanity generate smiles that last a lifetime. For more information about this year’s concert or to become involved in the 2011 event, please visit www.smilesforhabitat.org.

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