Planning for Comet Gala in full swing


Planning for the Comet Gala to be hosted by the West Liberty Community School District and Chamber of Commerce is in full swing and tickets are selling quickly. The event was announced last fall, and a committee of volunteers has been meeting regularly to secure auction items, plan hospitality and entertainment, and market the event.

The date is set for March 4 and will be held at the Community Center with doors opening at 5 p.m. The Comet Gala is a celebration of the successful fundraising campaign for the new athletic complex south of the high school, and a fundraiser for the School District and the Chamber of Commerce.

“This event has been extremely well-received by the public,” said Chamber Director Charles Brooke. “The athletic complex is a very popular community project with strong financial support and the Chamber is very active with many initiatives planned for 2023 and beyond. The public is excited to celebrate progress in West Liberty, and this will be a fun night.”

In March 2022, the school district held a press conference to announce the new athletic complex, present information on overall district strategy, and answer questions from the public. While the district is close to hitting the fundraising goal, Superintendent, Shaun Kruger, hopes this event will close the gap.

“I cannot believe we’ve raised so much money in less than a year,” said Kruger. “I don’t know many, if any, school districts that have seen this type of success. We would love to close out the first year by hitting our goal, and that might be possible with the Gala.”

In addition, the Gala will be a celebration and recognition of the donors that have contributed to the school project. All donors to the athletic complex received tickets to the event and each gift will be recognized at the Gala.

“It is extremely important for the school district to recognize the families and organizations that have made this athletic complex possible,” said Kruger. “The fundraising has allowed us to complete the project without short cuts. It also allows us to start planning for the indoor facility sooner than we expected.”

Brooke said that all but one of the reserved tables have been purchased and ticket sales are picking up.

“Table and ticket sales are going really well,” said Brooke. “The tables went right away, and ticket sales are increasing as we get closer to the event. We have a fun evening planned along with several amazing auction items.”

Tickets to the event are $25 and include food, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and entertainment. Live music will be provided throughout the evening, and the Chamber secured the University of Iowa for catering. Brooke says people will not be disappointed.

“The catering menu is excellent,” said Brooke. “I am very pleased with the variety, quality, and amount of food we are getting. We will not run out.”

In addition to food and beverages, the community will have an opportunity to bid on many high-end auction items. There will be a silent auction with baskets containing gift cards and high-value items from various businesses. The live auction has higher dollar items like a $5,000 credit to JJ Nichting, half of hogs from Jeff’s Market, a television from West Liberty Foods, multiple trips and more.

“The goal was to make the auction really valuable for people looking to bid,” said Brooke. “Bidders are going to get great items for their money.”

Tickets are on sale now and available for purchase at the Chamber office at 119 E. Third Street and at the West Liberty School’s Administration Building. Tickets can also be purchased at West Liberty State Bank and MidwestOne Bank. Any donors that have not picked up their complementary tickets can get them at the Chamber office or call to have them mailed.

“This is going to be a great night,” said Activities Director, Adam Loria, who is the emcee of the event. “Everyone is excited and no one will want to miss it. There is much to celebrate about our school district and the West Liberty community. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

The planning committee has an event page under the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Details are released weekly on social media, but people can contact the Chamber office with questions at any time at 319-627-4876. Anyone wanting to donate auction items or money for the event are highly encouraged to contact the Chamber office.