The sound of fiddles, an entire band full, filled Murphys Community Park Saturday night at Habitat for Humanity Calaveras’ eighth annual Hoedown.
“What’s a hoedown without some fiddle music?” asked Habitat Calaveras’ President Myron Kelso, gesturing toward The Fiddle Gang, a youth musical group from Sonora who were dressed appropriately in barn-red T-shirts and were the evening’s opening musical entertainment act.
This year’s Hoedown event was again a sell-out. Kelso held only four remaining tickets in his hand as he commented that the park was, “almost entirely filled up.”
“That’s why we have a limited number of tickets, because of this venue” he said, 265 tickets, to be specific.
Besides the typical positive ticket sales, Kelso noted that there were some new additions to this year’s Hoedown, including a live auction featuring three large items – a windmill, hand-sewn quilt and a large shed – and a new main musical act, the northern California group The Crystal Image Band.
“We change bands each year,” said Kelso. “We like to feature different local artists as much as possible and this is a popular event; bands are always asking to come out and play for us.”
At 6 p.m., Hoedown attendees began lining up for the barbecue dinner and the queue stretched nearly out of the park as guests filled their plates with brisket, chicken, cornbread and other traditional barbecue fare served by students from Sierra Ridge Academy.
Throughout the evening people moved back and forth from their benches to the silent auction table to keep close watch on their bids. Myriad items were available and ranged from a wooden rocking horse, gift certificates to local wineries to a full spa day.
In addition to keeping the atmosphere fun and light, Habitat volunteers were successful in displaying the true goal of their organization, to help community members in need, by being available to chat with guests during the event and through the set-up of large informative signs about all of Habitat for Humanity Calaveras’ community service programs near the park’s gazebo.
“We’ll walk around and talk to people to keep our message clear,” said Kelso as he welcomed guests into the park.
Habitat special event coordinator Alice Walters, said that the turnout in combination with the mild weather made for a “perfect evening.”
“It looks like we did a good job,” she said.
Guests echoed Walters’ sentiments. Liz Campbell of Murphys summed up the evening with a single word of high praise, “outstanding.”
“Everyone is so happy and enjoying themselves. This is just a wonderful place to be,” she said as her daughter added that it was the family’s first time attending a Hoedown and they plan on returning for following events.
“We’re happy to be here supporting Habitat for Humanity,” she said.