By Wayne Sheets
Contributing Business Writer
The Rotary Club of Elkins' major fundraising event will be held this evening at the National Guard Armory. This year's Fun Night dinner, dance and drawing will get under way at 6 p.m. and last until 11 p.m. Neff Entertainment of Morgantown will provide a wide variety of south sea island-style music. A buffet dinner will be available throughout the evening for convenient dining. Dress for the evening is "casual island." While you dine and dance the evening away, there will be drawings for numerous cash prizes including one $1,000, four $250 and eight $100 prizes. There will also be an auction of fine items donated by local businesses and individuals.
Tickets are $100 per single or couple and will be available at the door. You must be 21 to attend.
As we all know, the downturn in the economy is causing hardships for charitable organizations everywhere, and Rotary is no exception. We are caught in a catch 22. Because of the ailing economy, many businesses and individuals alike are experiencing difficulty supporting charitable organizations. Yet tough economic times are those when charity is needed most. Schools are experiencing reductions in money they received to keep their libraries up to date and operating. Funds for established scholarships are being reduced simply because money is not available. The list goes on and on.
This is a time when you can help, however. For a mere $100, you can enjoy an evening of great dining, dancing in the make-believe world of south sea island breezes, have a chance to win great prizes and purchase a wide variety of auctioned items, and at the same time contribute to a most worthy cause. Every dollar earned beyond its cost will go to help county schools and libraries.
So, put whatever you have planned for this evening aside for another time and come have a great evening of dining, dancing and fun at the armory.
Requirements for vendors wishing to participate in the 2009 Ramps and Rail Festival have been established. According to members of the planning committee, registration is required for all vendors; applications are available by calling 304-636-5358 or 304-637-4667. Registration forms along with the non-refundable fee must be received no later than April 15, 2009. Completed registration forms with check made payable to The Ramps and Rail Festival must be mailed to Ramps and Rail Festival, c/o Harold Elbon, Festival Chairman, 1200 Harrison Ave., Elkins W.Va. 26241.
Food vendors, except drink vendors, are encouraged to have at least one item that includes ramps. All vendors will be assigned a space based on size and product. Vendors must report to a member of the Ramps and Rail Committee upon arrival before setting up their stand. Setup time will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sales must begin by 10:30 a.m. Vendors are expected to remain and sell their products until 6 p.m. regardless of the weather as train enthusiasts will be arriving into the late afternoon. Vendors must provide their own table and weather protection.
Vendor fees are $50 for those who require an electrical hookup and $35 for all others.
The event is being sponsored by the Elkins Depot Welcome Center and the Randolph County Development Authority. They extend a sincere invitation to vendors and visitors alike to join the thousands who are expected to come enjoy fine food, great music, interesting crafts, exciting trains and unforgettable fun.
I want to mention again the Downtown Elkins Promotional Committee's efforts to bring more people to the downtown shopping area for this, and future, tourist seasons. The committee designed a tri-fold brochure highlighting Elkins as a unique shopping experience and has printed an initial run of several thousand that have been distributed to bus tour operators in the surrounding states. They have also been sent to the major West Virginia welcome centers.
The committee recently applied for a $7,500 Matching Advertising Partnership Program Grant from the West Virginia Division of Tourism to help pay the printing cost for an additional 30,000 brochures. According to committee members, expenditures must be paid by the committee and then are reimbursed by the grant. This means, of course, that the money has to be spent before the grant will replace it. This also means that the committee needs financial help from the business community - the entire business community. After all, the program is designed to help every business in town.
In addition to paying the printing cost for the additional 30,000 brochures, a portion of the money will be used to pay shipping costs for sending them to tour bus companies and welcoming centers. Another portion will be used for a direct advertising campaign involving a display ad in the summer 2009 edition of the Mountain Highlands Traveler magazine.
The project's target market is bus tour operators and people driving into West Virginia via the interstate highway system. The brochures are also being used in the American Mountain Theater's advertising campaign.
For more information about the program and how you can help, call Committee Chairman Ed Griesel at 304-636-2903.
Here is Daylight Saving Time explained: When told the reason for daylight saving time, the old Indian Chief said, "Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of the blanket and have a longer blanket." There's real wisdom.