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Fall is just around the corner, and with it football season. What better way to celebrate than by going to a tailgate party with a purpose?

Zonta Club of Longview is hosting its second Ultimate Tailgate Party on Sept. 14 at The Green in Longview.

The club this year partnered with Scottie’s 2.0 Convenience Store to expand the event into a craft beer fest, with more than 10 different breweries serving craft beer. A premiere football game will be broadcast on a giant screen TV with entertainment for the entire family.

“We’re excited that this will not only be a great fundraiser for the women and children in Longview, but really a great environment for the community to come out and enjoy themselves, try craft beer, watch the football games, and support a great cause,” says Ashley Summers, fundraising chair of Zonta Club of Longview.

Zonta Club of Longview is a local chapter of Zonta International, a global organization of professionals who work to empower women through service and advocacy.

“Zonta International envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights, every woman is able to achieve her full potential, and in such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence,” says Lyndell McAllister, president of Zonta Club of Longview.

Members of Longview’s Zonta chapter work to support projects locally that advocate for women and children, particularly programs to end violence against women and provide services for women and children, McAllister says.

“We’ve also done training in the community for law enforcement officers and medical personnel around encountering victims of sexual assault and helping them understand what human trafficking is, how to identify it, and understanding more about it,” McAllister says.

All money raised at the Ultimate Tailgate Party will go directly back into the community through educational events, as well as through grants and scholarships that Zonta provides to support the women and children of Longview.

“A big part of why we want to have these successful fundraisers is because the money goes directly back into funding grants for direct-service agencies in the area to demonstrate the support and goals of Zonta and specifically address gaps in local services for women,” says Tonya Waite, co-chair of Z-Clubs and Grants for Zonta Club of Longview. Last year, $5,000 each was awarded to Partners in Prevention and DORS — Developing Opportunities Realizing Success, two local agencies that work to support women and children.

Zonta also raises money for scholarships for young women in the Longview community, particularly members of Zonta’s Z-Clubs — local organizations in area school districts in which high school girls are involved in service and advocacy.

“In the Z-Clubs, we are just trying to replicate (Zonta members),” Waite says, “because we want mentors in the community who are going to grow up and have servant-minded leadership in their roles and responsibilities.”

The Z-Clubs are actively involved in Zonta’s Free the Girls initiative, a separate fundraiser in which Z-Club members collect new and used bras to ship to other countries as a way to help other women support themselves financially, by selling the bras.

“It’s a way to help girls in other countries who have been living with sex trafficking issues and are unable to support themselves, to have a business and have an income and become self-sustainable,” says Amy Dodgen, vice president of Zonta Club of Longview. “It’s really empowered women to get themselves out of horrible situations and provide something new for their family.”

Zonta’s Ultimate Tailgate Party aims to bring the Longview community together and raise awareness about the organization and its goals, McAllister says. She also says she hopes to attract the interest of other professional women in the community who might be interested in joining the club.

“One of the beautiful things about Zonta is it allows professional women to come together who all have crazy, busy lives, but also have a heart for service,” Summers says.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com or at the door. General admission into the tailgate party and craft beer fest is $35. VIP tickets are $65 and include a swag bag (complete with a T-shirt and commemorative beer glass), plus advanced entry and access to a VIP food tent.

All VIP ticketholders are allowed 20 beer samplings, while general admission ticket holders are allowed 10. People can participate in the tailgate party without access to the craft beer festival for $10. Children ages 12 and younger are free. Patrons must be 21 or older to participate in the craft beer fest.