Today, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Association announced the charities that will benefit from this year’s Celebration to take place August 21-31 in Shelbyville, Tenn.

“Giving back to the community is a key part of what The Celebration is all about,“ said Mike Inman.  “The Tennessee Walking Horse, and the many walking horse events that are held throughout the year, bring people together, boost local economies, provide charitable support and ultimately strengthen small communities across the country.”

All but 2% of the proceeds from the concessions at The Celebration go to charities.  At last year’s Celebration, 12 charities and civic clubs raised more than $400,000 during the 11-day event through the sale of food, programs, souvenirs, and other items.  All of the proceeds are used to fund the clubs’ programs, including youth-oriented efforts, recreational and sports leagues, and programs that help the disabled, the poor, and the disadvantaged.

The civic clubs and the charities to which the proceeds will go from The Celebration 2013 are as follows:

•    The Jaycees
•      American Legion
•      Band Boosters
•      Civitan Club
•      Community Lions
•      East Bedford Civic Club
•      Kiwanis
•      Optimist Club
•      Quarterback Club
•      Rotary Breakfast
•      Rotary Noon
•      Veterans of Foreign Wars

The Rotary Breakfast and Rotary Noon are just two of many local groups that participated in last year’s Celebration.  Former Mayor of Shelbyville Henry Feldhaus, a current member of the Shelbyville Rotary Club, estimates that his organization has raised close to one million dollars for charity since 1981 in partnership with The Celebration. The money has funded numerous projects, including the conversion of an old train depot into a library where an adult literacy program holds meetings. Now called the Adult Learning Center, Feldhaus describes it as the Rotary Club’s “signature” effort; the program has helped 300 to 400 adults attain
GED certifications each year since its inception in 1990. This leap in adult education has made an astounding impression upon the Shelbyville community—in a little more than two decades, the percentage of adults without high school diplomas has dropped from 50 to 25. Two of the program’s graduates have been awarded the title of “National Adult Learner of the Year.”

Another civic establishment, the Shelbyville Lions Club, has sold programs at the Celebration since its inception 75 years ago. The proceeds from these sales fund eye-screening exams, as well as cataract surgeries for children in need at the Tennessee Lions Sight Center at Vanderbilt University. The clubs own members and volunteers go to area schools with screening devices, and will buy glasses for children whose families cannot afford them. Edward “Bucker” Huffman, Jr., a member and spokesperson for the Shelbyville Lions Club, estimates that his organization has raised about a million dollars since the beginning of their partnership with the Celebration, and says that the earnings each year account for 75% of the Club’s revenue.

The Celebration is the largest and most prestigious event to showcase the Tennessee Walking Horse. The tradition of The Celebration has left an indelible mark on small rural communities throughout the country, after 75 years of crowning world champions and giving back to communities.  In addition to helping charities raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, the festivities bring in $38 million annually into the Middle Tennessee economy.