Two weeks ago United Way for Dawson County set its 2012 fundraising target at $105,000.
By Saturday evening, supporters had already collected nearly $18,000 toward the goal during a barbecue and hole-in-one challenge at the home of Jim and Barbara Watson just outside Dawsonville.
"We're calling it our first annual barbecue in anticipation of having it year after year," said United Way for Dawson County Chairwoman Sue Seldomridge. "And we already have some ideas of ways to improve the event next year."
Seldomridge said she had hoped for a successful event and was optimistic by the number of people who attended and contributed to United Way.
"Everyone was so very generous, especially PCL Industrial Construction, our corporate sponsor," she said.
Representatives from PCL were on hand with a check for $7,500 payable to United Way for Dawson County.
Seldomridge also thanked the Watsons for volunteering their estate to hold the fundraiser.
"Some people go above and beyond and they do. We are so fortunate to have them in Dawson County," Seldomridge said.
The evening ended with dozens taking a swing at the $50,000 grand prize hole-in-one challenge.
"Even though no one won, everyone had a good time trying," Seldomridge said. "I think everybody had a ball."
Funds collected during the campaign will be distributed in the spring to United Way partner agencies such as Boy and Girl Scouts, Rape Response, WEE Books and Challenged Child and Friends, among others.