Volunteers working behind the scenes are one of the most important assets and backbone to any community, and the Arts Council of Tahlequah will recognize the Community Arts Volunteer and Community Arts Supporter at the annual awards dinner and dance Saturday, Sept. 7, a.m. 7 p.m. in the ACT Gallery in Cort Mall.

There are many volunteers and organizations whose time and efforts make Tahlequah a wonderful place to live, work, raise children and call home, according to Renee Fite, ACT president.

"It is always a challenge to choose one or two to honor when there are so many volunteers in this community, especially who help the arts and area artists thrive," said Fite. "Through visual art, performing art and literary art. Tahlequah is a mecca of beauty and music and writers, drawing visitors and artists alike to travel here and move here."

This year's honorees are, as always, very deserving and the type who make a difference because they love the community and the arts, said Fite.

"We're so excited to surprise these honorees and show our gratitude for their community service and passion they share," Fite said.

Last year, Max McCullough was honored with the Arts Volunteer award for his work coordinating the Red Fern Festival Music Competition and for decades of bringing music and its joy into the communities where he and the late Francie Fite called home, including the Mandophonics locally and, in Virginia, the Balalaika Orchestra.

Cherokee Nation Business received the Arts Supporter award last year for the many arts events, arts assistance and art shows and galleries that receives funding and other assistance from them.

Three new members of the board will be announced and introduced at the event.

Saturday night will include a sneak peek of the Tahlequah Community Playhouse production of "Mamma Mia!" with songs by some of the cast members. Entertainment also includes music by Micheal Rappe, Jim Loftin and John Fite. The meal includes a salad, baked potato with all the fixings including chili, and delicious deserts.

Tickets are $35 for one and $50 for two and available from board of directors Matt Anderson, Callie Chunestudy, Dr. Carl Farinelli, Renee Fite, Jennifer Frazee, Chris Murphy and Dr. Robyn Pursely; the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce; Vivid Salon and Boutique; and the ACT Gallery.

"Tickets will be available at the door, but are limited for dinner, so buy ahead and come enjoy a good meal, great entertainment and fabulous evening with friends," said Fite.

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