Area residents who think they know how to spell a word or two can now put their money where their vocabulary is by entering the Seventh Annual Adult Spelling Bee.

The event, which is a fundraiser for the Crawford County Volunteers for Literacy, will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Van Buren High School Fine Arts Auditorium. It will start at 6 p.m. and finish by 9 p.m.

“This event is meant to bring attention to literacy needs in our community and be a fun way for the community to participate,” said Dee Carroll, director of CCVL.

Volunteers with CCVL help area students that have deficiencies in literacy skills and cannot read or write effectively enough to solve daily problems of life and living within the home, workplace and community.

“CCVL services are free to the students creating real need for operational expenses involved in providing the program,” said Carroll. “Without the fee for service, we have operational and instructional costs that have to be met in other ways. The annual fundraiser provides the opportunity to offset expenses and keep the doors open.”

The competition will feature teams of three sponsored by local businesses and individuals, with a signup fee starting at $175 per team. Gold sponsorships at $1,000 and silver at $550 are available to those that wish to support the effort beyond the basic entry fee. Signs with sponsors’ names and logos - including those that donate door prizes - will be posted at the event.

“Any business or organization with a community spirit and an interest in helping adults learn to read, write, increase math skills, prepare for GED tests or earn citizenship can participate,” said Carroll.

Words for the spell-off will come from the Scripps National Spelling Bee website. Words used will get progressively more difficult as the bee goes on.

Carroll said teams will be able to confer before spelling the word and will be given 20 seconds to give their answer. The bee is single elimination, but teams will receive “mulligans” that will allow them to pass on two words. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third place.

A trophy will go the “Furst Aut” team, which is the first team to misspell a word and be eliminated from the competition.

“This is all in fun,” said Carroll. “We will also have cheer teams representing those entered that will cause a real raucous each time their team spells a word correctly. The most supportive cheer team will also win a trophy at evening’s end.”

Van Buren Mayor Bob Freeman and businesswoman Delores Chitwood will sit as judges relative to questionable spelling or word definition.

Proceeds from the event will go toward CCVL’s general costs for such items as rent and utilities that cannot be paid for with grants received by the non-profit organization. Local businesses donate the door prizes that will be drawn for and distributed throughout the bee. There will also be a raffle with tickets available at the door for $1 each or six for $5.

For team entry or door prize donations call (479) 474-4594 or email ccvl@mynewroads.com