Tracey and Mark Berkner own the Volcano Union Inn, a Gold Rush-era boarding house serving up scrumptious dishes at sundown. And Tracey thinks Volcano’s evening ambiance is so special that – for the second year in a row – she’s volunteering to host the Supper Under the Stars fundraiser in town.
Supper Under the Stars helps raise funds for the Amador Council of Tourism, an organization that, in turn, works hard for Amador County’s economic vitality. The whole idea for the event actually came from Amador County resident Jorden Smith, who used to work for the Berkners. Smith had heard about nighttime community dinners that were being held on iconic main streets in other areas. Smith took one look at Volcano’s micro-environment and thought that it would be perfect for a similar communal gathering. Tracey, Smith’s boss at the time, was 100 percent onboard.
“Volcano is one of those places that, no matter how hot it is in the afternoon, it always cools down in the evening,” Tracey said. “Between that and the feel of the community, along with all of the history of the place, I really can’t think of a better place anywhere to do this.”
The Berkners aren’t the only business owners jumping in to make Supper Under the Stars a captivating night. Plymouth’s popular caterer and guerilla chef Beth Sogaard and the Rusty Spice Box will make the event’s appetizers, while folks from Volcano’s Need to Go Bakery and the St. George Hotel step in to make the gala’s desserts. Between those moments in the meal, the Union Inn’s cooks will handle dinner. Beyond that, singer Herb Boxhorn begins the entertainment before a regional swing band hits the stage with nonstop dance music.
Tracey was at last year’s Supper Under the Stars and, if asked, she has one word to describe the experience.
“The night was magical,” she said. “There was a combination of great music, great food and a beautiful evening. It was so much fun. People were dancing all the way to the end. I saw it as a celebration of the entire county.”
Now the Union Inn and its partners will try to spur another mesmerizing evening with the 2016 version of Supper Under the Stars. They will mix live music and top-notch culinary arts with the tucked-away splendor of a true country night’s sky. And above all of that, there will be that carefree, energizing comradery that keeps Volcano a hidden gem.
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