Barely a parking space could be found Tuesday night outside Pine Valley Church where the town held a benefit dinner for Dylan Redwine, the 13-year-old who has been missing since Nov. 19.
Organizers estimated more than 800 people attended the spaghetti dinner, silent auction and raffle, an impressive number made all the more remarkable considering the towns population hovers around 2,000.
I dont even have a word for it, said Denise Hess, a close friend of the Redwines who helped organize the event. Amazing. Phenomenally amazing.
A handful of organizers pulled together the event in about a week, soliciting donations of food, drinks, products and services from across the county.
Local business owners responded in full force, donating more than 200 items including gift baskets for silent auction, a $350 watch that was raffled off, meat for the spaghetti dinner and 500 pieces of bread.
One of the unofficial head cooks for the event, who didnt want to give her name, said she spent 48 hours cooking pasta. An Ignacio restaurant owner spent her only day off making 820 meatballs.
Elaine Redwine, Dylans mother, was at the dinner and Cory Redwine, Dylans 21-year-old brother, flew in from Colorado Springs.
Im flabbergasted to see all the people here; theyve blown my mind, Cory Redwine said. Sometimes its hard being in a small community, but in moments like this, its awesome.
Organizers didnt have a final tally of proceeds when the event came to a close, but Hess said all the money will go to the Find Dylan Redwine Fund. Nothing has been taken out of the fund yet, but Hess said it could be used for anything from hiring private investigators to offering a higher reward for Dylans return.
Whatever it takes to bring him home, she said.
The event was bittersweet for many of Dylans friends.
Its hard that such a good event is being held for a very sad cause, said Chris Kane, an eighth-grader at Bayfield Middle School who remembered spending summers hanging out at the river with Dylan.
Another friend, Caitlyn Phillips, had mixed emotions as well.
Its hard searching and not knowing if hes coming back, she said.