October 18, 2017 Edition

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Chloe Fox, six of Jonesboro, tallies up her score at the end of a game Friday night at NEA Game Fest. The fest saw more that 130 people travel to Hoxie over the weekend.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

NEA Game Fest raises
$2,700 for shelter

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The inaugural NEA Game Fest was held Friday and Saturday at the Kenneth Quarry Service Center in Hoxie. The fundraiser brought in approximately $2,700 for The Children's Shelter.

The event, which featured a variety of tabletop gaming such as board games and role-playing games, was attended by more than 130 people from across Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri.

"I was happy to see so many members of our gaming community come out," said Sarah Brown, NEA Game Fest coordinator.

NEA Game Fest was hosted by the NEA Gamers Guild, which was founded by Brown and her brother, Kiersten Heyl.

"Being able to do this event with The Children's Shelter was an absolute blessing for both the shelter and the NEA Gamers Guild," Heyl said. "Working with the shelter, we were able to get sponsors to make the event as big and grand as it was. Because we were able to make it so big, we were able to draw a crowd who then turned around and dug deep to give to the shelter."

The Children's Shelter Administrator Tonjia Miles was pleased with how the event turned out. "We are so thankful that the NEA Gamers Guild chose The Children's Shelter," Miles said, adding that the shelter's doors would not be open without the help of this community and the surrounding communities.

Plans are already underway to hold a second game fest in the fall of 2018, which will also be held as a fundraiser for The Children's Shelter and stay true to the coordinators' mission to provide a family-friendly place for people to come together and play games.

"There's something amazing about the atmosphere of a gaming convention," Brown said. "We had a room full of people where the primary goal is to have fun, and I'm glad so many were able to accomplish that goal."

Attendees share
about game fest

Attendees from across the region and beyond traveled to Hoxie for the first ever NEA Game Fest. The following are some of their personal reflections following the fest.

Robert Robinette of Jonesboro: "We had an absolutely fantastic time at NEA Game Fest. Interacting with people face-to-face feels like such a rarity nowadays, so when the opportunity to spend a weekend playing tabletop games with family and friends came up, I couldn't resist. Having fun and raising money for The Children's Shelter at the same time made the experience even more memorable. I can't wait to return next year and watch the game fest grow."

Steven Wood of Walnut Ridge: "The NEA Game Fest was one of the most enjoyable events I have ever been to. Many different genres of games and a relaxed atmosphere made for a great experience. It was also family friendly for my seven-year-old daughter."

Stacy Fox of Jonesboro: "The thing I loved about this past weekend was being able to meet new friends that share the same hobbies. Not just that, but being able to play games that I may not have had the chance to play anywhere else. We loved spending hour after hour playing games with new friends, and my daughter enjoyed hanging out with the other kiddos. Thank you for having us."

Jackie Sutherland of Kennett, Mo.: "NEA Game Fest was so much fun and all for a great cause. The thing I liked best? Seeing all ages of people sitting at a table together, laughing and enjoying each other's company. The game selection was impressive and the turnout even more impressive. Our communities greatly benefit from these family-friendly events."

Will Henson of Paragould: "NEA Game Fest provided lots of fun and good times for everyone, including my six-year-old, my two teenagers, and my mother-in-law. Doesn't get better than that."

Kristi Grigsby of Newport: "NEA Game Fest was two days of nearly non-stop gaming. No fighting, no arguments, just people playing games for gaming sake. The NEA Gamer's Guild raised a lot of money for The Children's Shelter and I for one can't wait to do it again."

Jimmy Hudson of Jonesboro: "Well run. Well attended. This is an event that Northeast Arkansas needed. I'm proud of what was started here. This was a great event that raised money for a great cause. Board games aren't dead and gone. The hobby has never been stronger and I'm excited to have an event like this locally."

Brandi Setzler of Jonesboro: "It was awesome to see so many people come together to have such a fun time all while supporting a great cause."

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