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DEP Benefit Dinner Raises Over $12,000!


DEP Promotion Committee at 2017 Benefit Dinner

The Downtown Excelsior Partnership (DEP) hosted its second annual benefit dinner on Thursday, September 21, 2017.  The event was an outdoor dinner held in the Hall of Waters Circle Drive.  Proceeds from the event are being used to fund the development of the Brooke Baxter Pocket Park to be located at the corner of Thompson and Concourse Avenue in Downtown Excelsior Springs, Missouri.  During the benefit dinner DEP also recognized award winners for their outstanding efforts to preserve, promote and revitalize Downtown Excelsior Springs.  DEP also gave special recognition to individuals who are making the Brooke Baxter Pocket Park Development possible.
There were approximately 140 guests present at this year’s benefit dinner. Guests were able to enjoy mingling with one another during the cocktail hour and were able to participate in the wine toss event, an additional event to promote fundraising for the mural.  Just before dinner was served, guests were asked to report to their tables to proceed with a welcome and introduction to the evening from Executive Director, Lyndsey M. Baxter.  Following dinner, the dessert auction commenced, led by DEP Board Member, Jim McCullough.  Throughout the dinner Baxter recognized award winners and gave special thanks to dinner sponsors and volunteers. As the event came to it’s conclusion DEP Board Secretary, Melissa Simmons, gave a special thank you to Baxter for all of the hard work and dedication she puts into making these events possible.
Award Recognitions

Premier Partner of the Year – Excelsior Springs Parks & Recreation

“The Excelsior Springs Parks & Recreation Department has been such a great partner to the Downtown Excelsior Partnership in so many ways.  We can’t even begin to limit this amazing partnership to just one event, program or publication.  Parks & Recreation is one of DEP’s major sponsors and investors.  They are constantly working to find ways in which we can work together to better downtown.  We are truly thankful for this partnership and I am especially privileged to call their Director a friend. Nate has been 100% involved in nearly all of our DEP events.  Sometimes it is just setting up the Spring Up games for event attendees to enjoy, sometimes it’s helping put up signs or tear down tables, he’s even played the role as trashman for our wine festival.  He is always willing to jump in wherever he is needed to ensure our successes.  We are extremely fortunate to have a partner and supporter like Nate and the Excelsior Springs Parks & Recreation.”

Premier Partner - Excelsior Springs Parks & Rec

Premier Partner – Excelsior Springs Parks & Rec

Best Downtown Beautification Project – Payne Jailhouse Bed & Breakfast

“The Payne Jailhouse Bed & Breakfast property development was completed by Mark & Anna Sue Spohn.  These two made a decision that they believed in the direction Downtown Excelsior Springs was moving and they wanted to be completely bought in to the process and thought what better way than to make downtown their home.  These two have spent countless hours renovating what was once Police Chief Bill Payne’s home into a beautifully restored home and bed and breakfast.  They are continually making updates to the property to make it event more visually appealing to our downtown traffic.  Not only have they completed this amazing beautification project, they have helped our community with a significant need for overnight accommodations.  We truly appreciate the continued support from both of them and hope to see their new business continue blossoming.”

Best Beautification Project - Payne Jailhouse Bed & Breakfast

Best Beautification Project – Payne Jailhouse Bed & Breakfast

Newcomer of the Year – Crystal Entertainment

“Crystal Entertainment officially opened their doors in January of 2016, but
they have been a partner of DEP for much longer than that.  Owners Roy & Kayla McCaulley are always willing to go out of their way to provide needed services for any of our downtown events.  Crystal Entertainment has volunteered their time and services to both, last year and this year’s benefit dinner, Pumpkins & Mums Fall Festival, Mardi Gras & Irish Festival, Gatsby Days and more.  They are always able to create the perfect atmosphere at all of our events, from 1920’s Gatsby Music to today’s hits. They are always only a phone call away.  The services that they provide within their business just continue to grow and develop.  They began as a DJ service company and have already branched out to include photography, photo booths and event space.  With Excelsior Springs becoming a highly used wedding destination, they are able to provide impeccable services for everyone’s special day.”

Newcomer of the Year - Crystal Entertainment

Newcomer of the Year – Crystal Entertainment

Cornerstone Business of the Year – Ventana Gourmet Grill

“Jill Cook Rickart and Wendy Cook Baldwin are the owners of Ventana Gourmet Grill.  These ladies are two of our business owners that are truly on board with what we are striving to achieve here in Downtown Excelsior Springs.  Ventana opened its doors in February of 2002, long before DEP was event thought of.  When DEP was formed in 2006 the two of them jumped in with both feet.  With their hardwork and involvement in the revitalization process, Ventana has continued to grow into a community favorite. Ventana, Jill and Wendy are always 100 percent involved in our downtown events and usually provide some of the crowd favorite samples.  They are now partnering with Slightly Off Broadway Theatre to supply a dinner and theatre package to hose individuals coming to our community for entertainment.  DEP is extremely fortunate to have these ladies and Ventana in Downtown Excelsior Springs.  They have truly positioned themselves as an anchor and without them we would be unable to do all that we do.”

Cornerstone Business of the Year - Ventana Gourmet Grill

Cornerstone Business of the Year – Ventana Gourmet Grill

Baxter then thanked the many sponsors and volunteers that made the benefit dinner possible.  Those sponsors and individuals included Carol Baxter, Carrie Carr, Kelly Smart, Melissa Simmons, Jade Williams, Nate Williams, Jake Simmons, Mary Colvin, Cheryl Boos, Traci White, Jeanette Boyce, Gary Sanson, Chase Schutte, Darla Baxter, Danica Baxter, Deanna Baxter, Hope Whitworth, Shannon Oliva, Tosha Jackson, Julie Williams, Ventana Gourmet Grill, The Mug, Cecile Stark, and The Elms Hotel & Spa.

Baxter then proceeded to give thanks to Jeremy and Hunter Houseworth of Houseworth Lawn Care for volunteering their services to design the beautiful pocket park development.  She also gave a special thank you to Brooke’s former Tipton Tiger teammates and friends for attending the event.  She also gave a special thank you and recognition to Mr. Tim Tipton who is donating the space for the development of this area.  Baxter said, “The entire premise of this pocket park development was Tim’s idea.  He was a great coach and mentor to Brooke while she was growing up and playing softball and I am beyond honored that he would like his donated land named after Brooke.”

The Downtown Excelsior Partnership intends to host a Benefit Dinner each year to assist in funding a public improvement here in Downtown Excelsior Springs.  This year’s Benefit Dinner was able to raise just over $12,000.00 to be used toward the development of the Brooke Baxter Pocket Park.  DEP is also working on grants to assist in the funding of this development.  For more information of the development of the park or to donate toward this development you can visit our Excelsior Springs Tourism website at the following link,

For questions or more information regarding this press release, please contact DEP Executive Director, Lyndsey Baxter, at