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RECAP: Austin’s Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee

T-I-T-T-L-E. That was the winning word at this week’s 10th Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, benefiting the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas. Staged as a luncheon in years past, this time around the Bee was held during the evening hours at ZACH’s gleaming new Topfer Theatre.


Competitors representing a variety of local businesses and organizations were decked out in sometimes elaborate costumes. Among the standouts were the teams from Alamo Drafthouse, in full Trekkie regalia, and the Texas Book Festival who dressed as beekeepers. Also of note were the teams from the LCRA, Dell (diamond tiaras and all), and the would-be comics from the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.


After a practice round, the judges got serious with the words, throwing out nuggets like thanatopsis, anemometer, pococurante and bissextile. We’re not sure what half of those words mean, and it appears that other teams didn’t have any idea either…because as sure as it will get hot this summer they began to drop like flies. Or should that be bees?


In the end, it came down to the Spelling Demons and the Texas Book Festival trios. The bookworms erred on “aglet” and the demons swept in to spell not only that word correctly, but also the aforementioned “tittle” to with the title. The Spirit Stick went to the folks from Dell and the Book Festival participants were duly rewarded for their costumes.


Even though revelry and a good time seemed to dominate, the evening did have a serious note…that being literacy and the need for funding to help Central Texans who struggle with basic communication skills on a daily basis. In fact, one in five native English-speakers in our area can’t read or write well enough to fill out a job application. Texas also, unfortunately, ranks 47 out of 50 states in adult literacy levels. These numbers certainly put the need for literacy programs in perspective.


C0-Chairs Elizabeth Danon-Leva and Nancy Nicolas put on a fantastic program that translated well to the new venue. As a former participant in the event, your social planner can attest that this dynamic duo definitely raised the bar for the fundraiser going forward. Or should we say FUN-raiser? Either way, a great time was had by all!


Written by Kevin Smothers

Kevin Smothers

Co-Founder and Editorial Director,
Austin Social Planner

185 posts