Saturday night, Festival Hall at the Colusa County Fairgrounds was nearly packed to occupancy. But the fire department wasn’t about to shut the event down. After all, the Colusa Rural Firefighters were hosting the event.
With a record 25 reserved tables and more than 300 tickets for the Comedy Night sold, the night was an absolute success.
Chicken falling off the bone and seasoned tri-tip was plentiful, and a well-stocked bar served patrons until they had their fill. Attendee Jermy Azevedo said, “the meat was flavorful and tender.”
A touching moment of silence was observed for first responders killed in the line of duty before the opening of the auction. A wooden thin-blue-line flag handmade by firefighter Joe Bowers garnered $1,200, which will be donated to slain Police Officer Natalie Corona’s memorial fund.
Raffle winner Pablo Garcia had his ticket drawn for the coveted gun safe and its contents.
Auctions and raffles were held intermittently throughout the night with enthusiastic auctioneers, and the evening’s headliner Jeff Garcia, assisting Firefighter Heath Krug as emcee.
The walls were packed with items that were generously donated. Guests came with money to burn, and there was much excitement as names were called out. Donations came from a long list of contributors, many of the individuals and businesses being local.
In a hour’s time, 150 glass tumblers etched with the eight-point Maltese Cross were sold. T-shirts were also made for the event, and what wasn’t sold will still be available for purchase until gone.
Krug stated that there is talk about renting a bigger hall to accomidate patrons next year. While the totals need to be counted yet, it is certain that the proceeds raised this year by the volunteer firefighters will be enough for significant assistance to the charities the department champions.
Firefighter Ciro Gutierrez said that they are a group of volunteers supporting the county in various ways. He claimed that the department supports a needy family during Christmastime, a scholarship program, and over $9,000 was raised from their Boot Drive for the Paradise Campfire victims, schools, and so many more causes that benefit from events like this one.
People were in good spirits as the houselights were dimmed and the talent took the stage. No demographic was safe, and no subject too taboo. Garcia honed in on the fact that many of the spoils for the evening were firearms and firewater.
“Sleep with one eye open, she’s got a bottle and a gun,” he said. Adding fuel to the fire, the amount of plaid shirts were, as Garcia noted, “If every dude right here took off his shirt and we all sewed them together, we’d have the biggest picnic ever.”
Chris Simpson, one of the comedians, has come to understand his job. Doing his routine with USO all over the globe, Simpson explained, “Our job isn’t really to make you laugh so much as to help you forget. Those people out there who are short on their house payment, kid is sick, but for a hour and a half, they don’t have to think about it.” Garcia added, “Most of our people who come to our shows are people who deal with tragedy.”
Comedian Joe Elcholo, Simpson, and Garcia all drove from Southern California. Simpson is no stranger to Colusa as he has been asked to the stage in previous years. While compensated for the travel, the comedians donated their talent for the night. ■