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Imagination Hoedown

Still got those cowboy boots and 10-gallon hat lying around from last month’s WE Fest?

Then dust them off and mosey on over to the Shorewood Pub on Friday, Sept. 27 for the inaugural Hoedown to benefit the Detroit Lakes Imagination Library.

From 5:30 to 11 p.m., the pub will be filled with music, food, live and silent auctions, fun and fellowship, with all profits from the evening going directly to the Imagination Library, a local branch of the international reading program started by country music icon Dolly Parton to help put books into the hands of young children.

Sponsored locally by the Holy Rosary Moms Group, the program provides books to children under the age of 5, delivered directly to their families’ homes each month.

“All children under the age of 5 who live in the 56501 zip code are eligible for our program,” says Amy Erickson, who spearheaded the movement to bring the worldwide reading program to Detroit Lakes almost two years ago.

Since 2011, the program has reached a current enrollment of 367 kids, each of whom receives a new book from the national Imagination Library organization every month, mailed directly to their homes.

“We’re responsible for raising the funds for providing books to the children in our zip code,” Erickson said, adding that the eventual goal of the group is to branch out to include all of Becker County — “which would quadruple the potential enrollment,” she added.

But to do that, “we would like to have at least a year’s enrollment in the bank” for all the kids participating in the program, Erickson continued.

Fundraisers like this month’s Hoedown will help them do just that, she added.

The fundraiser’s theme was simply the result of “trying to come up with an idea that would be both festive and casual,” Erickson said.

“We take our commitment to the Imagination Library very seriously, but we wanted to have an evening that would be fun for everyone.”

The evening will include a meal of pulled pork sandwiches and picnic-style side dishes like baked beans, as well as a cash bar, karaoke and DJ music for dancing, as well as both live and silent auctions.

Because the program costs just $25 per child, per year, each $35 ticket to the Hoedown will fund the cost of one new sponsorship for a local child to participate in the Imagination Library for a year.

The live auction will include a guided fly fishing trip on a local lake; a hydroplane ride; an abalone necklace custom-designed for the occasion by Roger Price of Price’s Jewelry; a meatball dinner for 12; WE Fest ticket packages; and two trips to Cabo San Lucas.

Each trip to the Mexican resort town will include airfare and a seven night, eight day stay in ta local resort; one trip will also include a full day of sport fishing, while the other will include four rounds of golf at some of the best courses in the world.

There will also be a variety of silent auction items, about 50 in all, Erickson said.

“One hundred percent of the money donated to the Imagination Library goes to the kids,” Erickson said, noting that the local program was run entirely by volunteers.

Though the Holy Rosary Moms were the instigators, not all of the volunteers who donate their time are members of the local Catholic church, she added.

“We accept any and all help that we get,” she said. “Our small group is very dedicated, but we couldn’t do this without the support of the local community, and we appreciate everyone who has supported our cause in the past.

“We hope to see a great turnout at the fundraiser.”

Tickets are available at Price’s Fine Jewelry, Central Market, or by calling Erickson at 218-841-2944; auction donations are also still being accepted this week as well, she added, so call if you are interested in making one.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454