Adults take spelling bee stage to raise money for Columbia Children’s Theatre

Allen Wallace photos.

It all came down to onomatopoeia. After a friendly but exciting competition at the fifth annual Columbia Spells adult spelling bee, the Greek-based word knocked out the final challengers, and the creatively named Phonics Hookers were champions for a third straight year..

Columbia Children’s Theatre was an even bigger winner, however, as the fundraiser helped fill the coffers of the nonprofit organization, the area’s only theatre company dedicated solely to programming designed specifically for the youngest members of the community.

The adult competition featured teams of three with names like Highway to Spell, the Bee Dazzlers, the Queen Bees and Something Something Wizards. They competed for the spelling crown, the spirit award (with judges making the call based on costumes and overall enthusiasm) and the crowd favorite award, based on donations.

There was good news for those who struggled with spelling some of the words in the raucous and often raunchy competition, and it doubled as good news for the Children’s Theatre. Those eliminated could buy their way back in with $50 donations, and almost every team did, some multiple times, with help from the crowd wanting to see their favorites continue.

Master of Ceremonies Larry Hembree kept the crowd laughing and helped keep the donations flowing. The night also included food donated by local businesses in support of the Children’s Theatre, as well as a cash bar.

The next Columbia Children’s Theatre production is Peter Pan and Wendy: A Musical, set to open March 2. More information is available at

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Education, Richland County