Spellebration 2023: The Realm of Reading

A Royal Spelling Bee

This year’s regal spelling bee, the 29th annual Spellebration, was held on March 3, 2023, at the historic Hotel Colorado. Fifteens teams, spelling seventy-two words each, competed for the right to be crowned the spelling champions of Garfield County. The Royal theme was evident in all sorts of costumes in any way related to British Royalty, quirks, and mythology.

While everyone in the audience was a proficient speller, a few words proved to be the most challenging. “Victuals” and “panegyric” confused twelve teams. The spelling of “coulrophobia,” which means an extreme or irrational fear of clowns, confounded everyone. Overall, teams spelled seventy-two words with a total of 763 words correctly and 292 words incorrectly.  The bitter taste of misspelling a word could be offset with a modest donation to organizer Literacy Outreach to buy a few extra points.

Placing first was team ”Her Royal Highness Heather Exby’s Exquisite Exponents” sponsored by Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus. Spelling for her royal highness was Kevin Cote, Virginia Nicolai, and Yesenia Silva Estrada. Sponsored by KMTS and led by Jon Banks the “Knaves, Maidens, Trolls and Sorcerers” (or KMTS, clever!) placed a very close second. And after a moving tribute to their former co-worker Lisa Detweiler from the Garfield County Libraries, “Lisa’s Linguistic Librarians in Waiting” placed third, with Amy Tonozzi, Tracy Kallassy, and Carolyn McCann as spellers.

Winning the prize for best costume, Jon Banks and KMTS teammates Sabrina Whitehouse and Coya Lindberg breathed fire into the entire room with their dragon costumes with moveable wings. The silly costumes and friendly competition made for an enchanting evening full of giggles and groans. All proceeds benefit the adult learners of Literacy Outreach and the Colorado Mountain College Learning Labs.

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