Withlacoochee Technical College (WTC) is in the market for new equipment to benefit the education of their students.

Katie Viviere of WTC said updating industry equipment is necessary but very expensive.

To raise the necessary funds, WTC will have its third annual Made for Trades dinner and auction in conjunction with the Citrus County Education Foundation. The event will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 7, at the Depot District, 300 N. Apopka Ave. in Inverness.

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For more than 50 years, WTC has trained Citrus County’s citizens to become skilled in trades like cosmetology, electricity, massage therapy, welding, practical nursing and more. The proceeds from this annual event will benefit the students enrolled in their programs.

“The first year, what we ended up purchasing with our money was a van for WTC,” Viviere said. “Then we got a new plasma cutter for our welding department.”

Friday night’s event will include live music, a steak dinner, live auctions, raffles and a cash bar. This year, WTC will debut a new VIP hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and is limited to 75 participants. VIP attendees will receive a custom tumbler, free drinks and the opportunity to bid on special items.

“If it becomes a hit, then we’ll keep doing it,” Viviere said.

“We are still looking for donations,” Viviere said. Individuals or businesses can donate baskets, gift certificates or other items for the auction and raffles. “Anything that anyone is willing to donate, we will take.”

Due to COVID-19 protocols, this year tickets will be sold by the table and there are still some available. The table sponsorship options for purchase include:

Platinum eight-person table at $1,000: eight steak dinners, VIP hour, social media marketing platform, advertisement as a sponsor on publications, WTC website and marquee recognition and a custom sponsorship banner the night of the event.

Gold five-person table at $500: six steak dinners, one adult beverage ticker per person, social media marketing platform, advertisement as a sponsor on publications, a sponsorship banner the night of the event and WTC website and marquee recognition.

Silver four-person table for $250: four steak dinners, social media marketing platform, advertisement as a sponsor on publications, a sponsorship banner the night of the event and WTC website and marquee recognition.

Bronze four-person table at $125: four steak dinners.

CDC guidelines will be followed at the event. If safety guidelines should change, there will be takeout dinners and a virtual auction.

WTC’s hope is that the event will garner funds for the career and technical training of Citrus County’s essential workforce. “We’re trying to get our businesses good students,” Viviere said.

Additional donations can be made out to the Citrus County Education Foundation. For information, contact Ashley Smerecki, financial aid clerk, at 352-726-2430 ext. 4316 or smereckia@citrusschools.org.

Hannah is a reporter for the Chronicle. She can be reached at 352-564-2929 or email hannah.sachewicz@chronicleonline.com.