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By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: Feb. 14 | Modified: Mar. 18

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s Grown-Up Spelling Bee returns March 18, challenging
teams of four to a no-holds-barred battle of spelling wits (W-I-T-S).

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

You can’t spell “fundraiser” without “fun,” but some have probably tried.

Either way, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce wants YOU — that’s right, “Y-O-U” — for its annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee March 18.

Although the bee is more than a month away, chamber president Dan Meyer is hoping to generate enough buzz to make this year’s contest better than ever.

As such, Meyer and company are presently accepting applications for teams of four, with registration costing $60 per team. Contestants don’t need to belong to the Boone chamber, Meyer said, but they should have an interest in supporting education.

With Yadkin Bank sponsoring the event, the chamber aims to use the proceeds to benefit a yet-to-be-determined educational cause.

“It’s the culmination of the chamber’s focus on education — and spelling, in particular,” Meyer said.

It’s also a celebration of community, with contestants often donning costumes and decorating their tables to compete for prizes with friends, neighbors and colleagues.

“This has become an annual community event, and it’s a great community gathering,” Meyer said.

Typically, 30 to 35 teams turn out for the bee, which features an emcee calling out the words and teams submitting their answers in writing. Miss a word? Not a problem. The chamber offers “Bee Bucks,” mulligans that — at $10 a pop — give teams a second (or third, or even fourth) chance to stay in the game. Barring Bee Bucks, teams can win another shot at redemption.

“We typically invite the winners of the school spelling bees and auction off their services to help out some of the adults,” Meyer said.

Can you spell “non-competitive?” If not (and if competition’s not your thing), Meyer said there’s plenty of room for spectators.
“We usually have a good crowd of watchers, too,” he said. “Anyone who’s interested in public humiliation is welcome to attend.”

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee takes place Tuesday, March 18, at 5 p.m. at the Watauga High School gymnasium, located at 300 Go Pioneers Drive in Boone. For more information, or to register, call (828) 264-2225.

“We hope to ‘bee’ seeing you this year,” Meyer said.

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