VALDOSTA -- A group dedicated to fostering responsible youth firearms safety and ownership will conduct its annual fund-raiser on Aug. 21.

The Friends of the National Rifle Association will host its banquet at the Lowndes County Civic Center on Highway 84, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

The banquet will feature a buffet dinner, live and silent auctions, special drawings and door prizes. There will be commemorative firearms, limited edition wildlife prints, NRA regalia and local donated items. A $10 ticket buys a chance to win three firearms that will be raffled during the evening. Winners don't have to be present to win.

"It's a lot of fun," said Don Woske, a Friends of NRA committee member. "It's for the shooter, the hunter, the outdoorsman."

Friends of NRA is a grassroots, fund-raising program that was established in 1993 to help firearms enthusiasts get involved with NRA programs and promote responsible gun ownership.

Proceeds provide grants to various organized shooting programs, such as Boy Scouts, 4-H Clubs and Junior ROTC. "The gain primarily is aimed toward the youth," Woske said.

Locally, the Alapaha Area Council of Boy Scouts have benefited from grants made available by the Friends of NRA, Woske said.

Banquet tickets are $30; $50 per couple; or $70 per family. Tickets may be purchased at Carlton Outdoors, North Valdosta Drive; Solo Archery, Bemiss Road; Bobby's Auto Center, corner of Washington and Stevens Streets, Quitman; Badcock Home Furnishing, East Screven Street, Quitman; or by calling 247-2749 or 775-2597.

"It's best to buy the tickets beforehand so we can get a better idea of how many meals to prepare," Woske said.

Dress for the event is casual. NRA membership is not required.

Friends of NRA is a 501C(3) tax deductible charity. To donate cash, merchandise or services, call 247-2749 or 775-2597.

To contact City Editor Heath Griner, call (229) 244-3400, ext. 274.

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