A holiday tradition will come earlier this year when Toys for Tots holds its annual kickoff fund-raiser Saturday, September 16.

Posing together to promote the Toys for Tots fund-raiser are, from left, Adam Rohler and Scott Lumia of TPT; Jason Williams of The Lights of Broadway; Patrick Smeraldo, independent service coordinator with Chautauqua Connections Inc., which is helping The Resource Center coordinate this year’s toy drive; Jeff Kresge of The Lights of Broadway; Heather C. Brown, TRC Assistant Executive Director; and Terri Johnson, TRC’s Director of Employment and Community-Based Services.

The 11th annual event will be held in the Willow Bay Theater, located at 21 East Third Street in Jamestown, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Again this year, the evening will feature a performance by the local comedy troupe The Lights of Broadway. Entertainment also will be provided by the musical group TPT.

Though Christmas still is several months away, organizers of the Toys for Tots drive want to get an early start on raising money to meet the expected demand for toys. Each year, the toy drive provides gifts to about 2,400 children in Chautauqua County.

This marks the 18th year that The Resource Center has coordinated the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive in Chautauqua County. Heather C. Brown, assistant executive director at TRC, has been at the helm every year. She said that operating the toy drive is a way for The Resource Center to give back to the community.

“I can’t believe it’s been 18 years since we brought Toys to Tots to this community,” Brown said. “Each year the need has grown, and we depend on this community to provide the support we need to bring smiles to so many children who might go without on Christmas morning.”

This year’s kickoff celebration is being billed as “Music and Mayhem.” For the $25 admission price, guests can enjoy appetizers and beer before the 8:00 show time, as well as an elaborate dessert buffet during intermission. There also will be prize drawings featuring dozens of items donated by local businesses.

Major sponsors of the event include Greater Woodlawn Federal Credit Union, the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club, Lind Funeral Home, Premier Consulting Associates, and Saxton, Kocur & Associates. We will be accepting sponsors and advertisers up until the event.

Auction items received so far include donations from the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Chautauqua Institution, the Lucy Desi Museum, Panache, Pepsi, the Summer Wind, Wegmans, and Ziebart, as well as many gift baskets.

“Our kickoff event is our main fund-raiser each year, and we look forward to a great night of food, music and laughs,” Brown said. She added that organizers will accept additional sponsors and advertisers until the day of the event.

To buy tickets or for more information about the kickoff celebration or this year’s Toys for Tots drive, phone Brown at 661-1042. Tickets also are available at The Resource Center, 200 Dunham Avenue in Celoron, from 8:00 to 5:00 weekdays.

Information about this year’s toy drive also can be found at the “Chautauqua County, New York – Toys for Tots 2017” Facebook page.