Although it is too soon to have final numbers tallied, Family Water Alliance likely held its most successful Hot Cajun Night Fundraiser to date.
About 500 people – a mix of both long-time and new supporters – attended the Cajun-style dinner at St. Bernadette’s Hall in Colusa on Saturday.
The annual event funds the operation of the local non-profit organization, best known for its fish screen program and advocacy of agriculture, private property rights, and rural communities.
Hot Cajun Night was moved to St. Bernadette’s from the American Legion Hall in Maxwell last year specifically to attract more attendees, organizers said.
In addition to a raffle and live auction of prizes donated by more than 120 sponsors, FWA added a silent auction and free photo booth, and attendance was at an all-time high.
“We did things a little different this year,” said Nadine Bailey, FWA executive director. “It’s great to see so many people come out to support us.”
Of course, the live auction was the highlight of the event, and people dug pretty deeply into their pockets. Marie Spooner’s famous apple pie fetched a bid of $3,200, her record at this event; and Ellen McCorkle’s German chocolate cake pulled in $800.
Auctioneer Jerry Maltby, a member of the Family Water Alliance Board of Directors, said in addition to the generous donations from sponsors, a lot of volunteer effort goes into making Hot Cajun Night successful each year.
The Maxwell High School FBLA and Colusa High School FFA served dinner, ran auction and raffle items, and helped with clean up.
Former Colusa County Supervisor Tom Indrieri, now living in Sacramento, cooked the dinner as he has for many years.
Dan Keppen, executive director of the Farm Family Alliance, a non-profit association that acts as an advocate for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in 17 western states, attended the dinner this year, speaking briefly at Bailey’s request.
Keppen said that while state and national news continue to focus on negative happenings across the country, good things are actually happening on the federal level, and progress is being made in the state on water issues.
“The Sites Reservoir is going to get built,” Keppen predicted.
Family Water Alliance addresses numerous issues that directly affect rural people and farmers, but Sites Reservoir has been the organization’s focus the past several years, Bailey said.