Past comes alive for Night at Old Auburn

auburn

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 12.34.21 PMBAKER CITY — When asked about the Night at Old Auburn fundraiser, Hal Huntington doesn’t mince words.

“Everybody come and have fun,” he said.

Huntington is on the donation committee for the fundraiser, which is one of the biggest for the Friends of the Baker Heritage Museum. The Friends, in turn, then donate the proceeds to the museum for general operating costs and other projects.

“It gives us the flexibility to put it where it will best benefit the museum,” said Lea Gettle, museum director.

The eighth-annual Night at Old Auburn fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. Feb.  25, at the museum, 2480 Grove St. Tickets are $30 in advance or $38 after Feb. 19. They are available at Betty’s Books, the Baker County Chamber of Commerce, Inland Cafe, Baker Heritage Museum and online at www.bakerheritagemuseum.com.

The fundraiser pays homage to  Auburn, a gold rush town south of Baker City that boomed to life in 1862 and grew to a population of 6,000. It was the county seat until 1868, when that title moved to nearby Baker. Today, there is nothing left to identify where the town once stood except a cemetery, which is located on private property.

However, one night a year the past comes alive for the fundraiser, which features casino-style games of blackjack, poker, roulette and craps.

Attendees can buy “funny money” and then try their luck at the tables. Instead of money, winners are awarded raffle tickets, which can win any number of prize baskets. Gettle said raffle tickets can be dropped in the bucket next to the desired prize — as many tickets as you want — and then one winning ticket is pulled out at the end of the night.

There are also silent auction items to bid on throughout the night, and a bingo game held in the Leo Adler Room right inside the museum’s front door. All items in the auction and raffle have been donated from local businesses and individuals.

“The community is overwhelmingly supportive,” Gettle said.

A catered dinner is served in the ballroom upstairs. Also, many museum volunteers and some attendees dress up in clothing reminiscent of the 1860s.

“It brings the ballroom back to life,” Gettle said.

The museum will also be open throughout the evening, and guests are encouraged to tour the many exhibits. The main gallery currently features “Those Who Have Served,” which honors local veterans.

“It gets people in the door — they know where we are and what we’re doing,” Gettle said of the fundraiser. “And it’s such a fun event.”

An addition in recent years is a photo booth, where members of the Baker Kiwanis Club will capture photographs, with payment by donation to the club.

The 2016 fundraiser brought in about $7,000. Organizers this year have a goal of raising $10,000.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser,” said Mindy Sherrieb, event co-chair.

The museum is currently open Fridays and Saturdays. The regular season, with operation seven days a weeks, starts in March. For information, visit the website, www.bakerheritagemuseum.com.

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