The Fulton Rotary Club is off to the races — the mouse races, that is.
The club's fifth annual Callaway Cup Mouse Races is scheduled for March 1 at Brick District Playhouse, 613 Court St. in Fulton. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6 p.m.
Tickets for the family-friendly event are $20 or $10 for children 12 and younger. Tickets include admission, food and non-alcoholic drinks.
During the mouse races, live mice will zoom along a tiny race course and choose cards on a roulette table. Spectators are invited to make bets on the outcome of the races and roulette.
Each year, the event benefits a local organization or charity. The proposed George Washington Carver Cultural Center in Fulton is this year's recipient.
"We feel the proposed Carver Cultural Center is important for Fulton," Fulton Rotary President-Elect Allen Huggins said. "With the school being proposed for senior housing, it is essential that our community find a way to memorialize this part of our history."
The board of directors of the George Washington Carver Cultural Center recently entered into an option contract with MACO Management Company to restore the George Washington Carver Grade School in Fulton and convert it into affordable housing for senior citizens. The former elementary school, dedicated by its namesake and segregated until 1968, has been vacant since the 1980s.
While board members initially hoped to convert the entire building into a cultural center, renovation costs — estimated at more than $4 million — made the proposition impractical. MACO has agreed to set aside space for a mini-museum dedicated to the building's history, board President Carmen Brandt said.
Previous years' recipients include Callaway County Public Library, the Adult Enrichment Center, the Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence, and Wonderland Camp.
This year's event has a Mardi Gras theme, complete with Cajun food. Milder fare is available for children with less-adventurous palates. Between races, attendees can enjoy crafts, a silent auction, a photo booth and raffles.
"We encourage families to come out and enjoy the evening together," Fulton Rotary President Debbie Laughlin said. "Kids love the crafts, photo booth and soda toss and they are intrigued by the mice."
In addition to placing bets, people may sponsor races.
Four sponsorship levels are available, with Exacta at $100, Race at $200, Trifecta at $250 and Superfecta at $500. All sponsors will receive event and drink tickets, social media advertising, and inclusion in the race program. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Josh Hanley at 573-473-3002 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate a silent auction item, contact Jennifer Books at email@example.com.
Tickets to the mouse races are available at Playhouse Bistro, Peak Sport and Spine, and Central Bank in Fulton or from any Fulton Rotarian. For more information on the mouse races, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fultonrotary-mo.org.