By Ann Butler
That’s how long it took to sell out Trails 2000’s 25th dinner and auction when ticket sales went live. I believe that puts the event in the rarefied atmosphere of Adele and Barbara Streisand ticket demand.
The Jan. 18 event served as the official reopening of El Moro Spirits & Tavern after its recent fire. And as behooves any organization celebrating an event that continues to thrive after a quarter century, the end result was a night to remember.
Supporters of the organization have become close friends over the years. That’s largely due, I think, to the more than 4,000 hours they spend working together each year planning, building and maintaining trails on land owned privately and by the city of Durango, La Plata County, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. So there was plenty of catching up to do.
As they chatted, guests noshed on appetizers of mushroom ragout on polenta crostini; baked clams with bacon; and marinated olives and feta cheese with bread provided by Bread. Caitlin Cannon and the Cannondolls provided the soundtrack to the cocktail hour. The attendees were treated to a surprise flash dance to the group’s popular “Diamonds and Gold,” coordinated by Jessica Perino.
Dinner included beef raviolo (the plural of ravioli, who knew?) with meat provided by Sunnyside Meats, topped with Parmesan-mushroom brodo, and served with braised kale and gremolata. Vegetarians had the option of portabello-mushroom raviolo. Dessert was a ricotta cake baked specially for the event by Bread. Along with Sunnyside Meats and El Moro, dinner was sponsored by Durango Liquor and Wine and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
Kudos go to Steamworks Brewing Co. CEO and co-founder Kris Oyler, General Manager David Woodruff and Executive Chef Sean Clark, along with the kitchen and wait staff, for not only providing a great dining experience, but for jumping through hoops to have the restaurant ready in time.
The evening brought in more than $45,000, thanks to the hundreds of auction items donated by local and national businesses.
The group does a great job of creating auction packages, many related to its mission. One of the most memorable was donated by Jeff Speicher and Roger Hayes of Speicher Hayes Financial Group. They contributed a rare 2001 World Cup custom banner (No. 122 out of 200) along with a 16-liter bottle of 2001 Sangiovese Toscano. That size of bottle is called a Balthazar.
After reading that, I had to learn more. That’s not even the largest bottle of wine. Other larger-than-normal bottles include Methuselah, Nebuchadnezzar, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Melchior, Solomon and Salmanazar. The names are derived from biblical kings, except for Methuselah, who was the oldest man named in the Bible.
Despite some intense Googling, I was unable to find an explanation for the use of the biblical names, but I did learn the larger bottles are rare and generally are only sold at auction.
Congratulations on a job well done go to the auction committee, chaired by Shanan Orndorff. Committee members were Katri Annast, Wendy Barney, Allie Burnett, Connie Gordon, TJ Hillinger, Deb Loy, Mary Orans, Mary Oswald, Karen Rudolph and Connie Wian, working under the direction of Trails 2000 Executive Direction Mary Monroe Brown.
In addition to trailwork, the organization also educates trail users and advocates for connectivity of roads, paths and trails. I have covered meetings including for the Forest Service, the city, the county and Durango School District 9-R where Brown has been on hand to represent the interests of diverse trail users.
To learn more, visit www.Trails2000.org or its Facebook page.
HHHI’m back, at least part-time, as I return from medical leave. My email inbox is overflowing, and trying to plow through the backlog would be a full-time job. So, if you sent an email for Neighbors or education between Dec. 27 and Feb. 5 that is still relevant, please send it again.
And thanks for all the cards, calls, rides, meals and errand running. I often write about the generosity of this community, but it’s incredibly heartwarming to experience it firsthand.
HHHCheck back at durangoherald.com for more Neighbors stories and photos. Click on the word “Neighbors” to make sure you haven’t missed any stories. Neighbors runs in the Sunday print edition of The Durango Herald.Here’s how to reach me: email@example.com; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items. Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Neighbors.I need photos for all Neighbors items, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory) and include no more than three to five people. I need to know who’s who, left to right, and who to credit with the photo. Candid photos are better than posed, and photos should be submitted as JPG or TIF attachments.