Remember how fun science experiments such as creating electricity with a potato and churning butter were? Were your favorite shows "Bill Nye, the Science Guy" or "Nova"?
At the risk of being redundant, the best fundraisers have something to do with the mission of the nonprofit, and the Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse proved that Sept. 19.
Called the Ca. 1939 Durango World Exposition, the event promised "Marvels and amazements await you: electricity in the palm of your hand, your future foretold, your legacy cemented, test your strength and acuity and prepare your family for a scientific tomorrow."
Alan Logsdon and Mike Mahaffey drove in two classic 1930s convertibles to match the "Back to the Future" theme.
Museum staff calls them POW 101, "explosion experiments," such as pedaling to generate electricity and blowing up acetylene gas balloons and methane-filled water canisters. Come on, when's the last time you got to blow something up at a party?
Carver Brewing Co. supplied a speak-easy door, and the secret password for entry was "I believe in science." A special hands-on electricity show ran inside the password-protected lounge all evening.
But wait, that's not all. The Salida Circus brought insanely tall stilt walkers and an audience-participation trapeze act to add to the fun.
Of course, all fundraisers need some fine food to make the party a success. For this one, Cyprus Cafe presented a variety of mezze, Durangourmet provided its yummy stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon and Cocina Linda served up a Mexican bruschetta. City Market, Norton's Catering, and Carver Brewing also made noshers happy. Kennebec Caf`E9 satisfied sweet teeth (tooths?) with brownies and cream puffs, while Wagonwheel Liquors supplied the evening's signature drink, Tesla Tonics.
Several lucky people went home with prizes, including a Year of Beer from Carver's, two roundtrip airline tickets to anywhere Frontier Airlines flies, gift certificates from Cocina Linda and Hamilton Chop House, Powerhouse Kids DVDs and cookbooks, as well as Zumba dance aerobics punch passes.
More than 140 guests helped the museum raise about $18,000, with another $5,000 in pledges toward the final $500,000 it needs to open in June 2010.
This month also marked the beginning of a new series of fundraisers called Power Hours. Ed and Jackie Morlan hosted the first at Steamworks Brewing Co. on Sept. 2. The next will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at Carver's and will feature drink specials, an "Explosive Science Minute," appetizers and a chance to learn more about the Discovery Museum's future.
Power Hours will take place the first Wednesday every month, and while they revealed October's location to yours truly only after much pleading, everyone is welcome to check the Discovery Museum's BuzzTown Page to find out where other Power Hours will be held.
Through the Powerhouse Capital Campaign, you can Buy a Brick, or personalize a plaza paver brick. You also can pledge a little bit every month to help the Discovery Museum build the fun and fascinating exhibits that will make this an outstanding family attraction. And through the General Education Fund, you can sponsor ongoing programs such as Sudden Science, Kids Cook or any of the kid-centric programs.
There are several ways to contribute to the Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse, which, with the Durango Public Library, will be one of the main jewels along the Animas River. Visit http://du rangodiscovery.org or call 422-2034 to learn how you can generate your own electricity for the project.
My thanks go to Haz Said for serving as my correspondent on this item.
Enjoying freshly pressed apple cider for their birthdays are Melinda Jameson, J.T. Munger, Erin Lundquist, Brennan Stottlemyer, Ulys Gardella, Lucille Smith, Ann Wiley, Don Simonsen, Cody Martinez, Mark Dickson, Paige Shacklett, Chase Pierson, Dan Bender, Dan Mantineo, Daniel Meadors, Sabine Lindler, Abigail Wiley, Pat Dworkin, Connie Matthys, Carolyn Rector, Dianne Donovan, Lori Jackson, Pat Campbell and Andy Kraftherfer.
Special greetings go to Paul McGurr for his birthday Sunday.
It seems as if the American Cancer Society has nailed it on the head when it says its goal is for all cancer patients to celebrate another birthday and another birthday and another `85 you get it. Its new campaign is to create a world with more birthdays, where cancer never steals a year from anyone's life.
That is a particularly vivid image for those who are in the thick of the fight, as Ginna Harbison, the society's employee in charge of patient programs, puts it, when "every new age is a cause for celebration - a sign of a battle won, and of an enemy defeated."
So, this week, the local ACS celebrated the third birthday of a core part of Southwest Colorado's support structure, the Cancer Resource Center in the Durango Cancer Center.
Harbison and all of her wonderful volunteers provided fun, healthy snacks and drinks to patients and staff members all week. More than a few volunteers and staff members wore plastic tiaras to set the mood - and when do tiaras ever fail to raise one's spirits?
The lovely volunteers were Elizabeth Brannen, Sherri Daher, Merrillie Hock, Pam Turner, Carol McGuire, Barbara O'Connor, Karen Bell, Ruth Wagner, Nancy Galbraith, Sheila Marchetta, Pam Logan and Maggie Olson.
Not only did the motorcycle rally over Labor Day bring in a much-needed hit of money to our area businesses, it helped at least one local nonprofit as well.
The Blue Star Moms had a booth at the rally to raise money for the fifth annual Gold Star Families weekend at Estes Park. Gold Star Families have lost a child in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, and the weekend is offered as a time of healing and sharing for those grieving families who live in Colorado.
The booth itself brought in $600, and the Beer Garden staff, including Blue Star Mom Terrie Piccorelli, donated all of their tips, bringing in another $1,000.
Jill Coddington, who serves as my correspondent with Blue Star Moms, tells me 33 families will be attending this year's gathering on the weekend of Sept. 26-27. Betty Wiley is handling the local fundraising effort, which also includes donations from the American Legion, a variety of veterans' organizations and lots of patriotic individuals.
One of the ways any of us can support our troops is to take care of the families who have paid the greatest price imaginable, who have lost a child who was serving our country. As Abraham Lincoln put it, "They gave the last full measure of devotion."
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to Blue Star Moms, 878 East Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Enjoying drives to enjoy the changing fall colors for their anniversaries are David and Christin Collins, Steve and Cindi Clay, Mike and Tracy Henry, Jeff and Peggy McElwain and Will and Carol Connelly.
For information on upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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