The ongoing effort to reopen the Woody Creek Store as the Woody Creek Community Center has taken on an easily identifiable shape - that of a classic American car.Woody Creeker Gaylord Guenin donated a 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham to raise money for the cause. Guenin's car, inherited from his late father, currently is parked outside the store.According to Ann Owsley, who managed the store until it was closed in May by Pitkin County due to building code violations, the car is the lead item in a silent auction to raise money to fix the violations and reopen the store. (Also up for bid is a 2001 Honda four-wheeler, with 100 hours on it.)A billboard situated outside the store, which is located next to the Woody Creek Tavern on Upper River Road, will announce the current bids. The winners of the auction will get the keys to their respective vehicles at Creekfest, a community party scheduled for Oct. 8 from noon to 3 p.m. The party is also part of the fundraising effort, with a variety of planned activities, including live music, a footrace, a bake sale and an art sale.
Music will be provided by Jimmy Ibbotson, of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame, Cosmo (a washboard band) and Celtic Jam. The footrace will go from the Woody Creek Firehouse to the store, with competitors required to pat the top of their heads with one hand while balancing an egg on a spoon with the other. The art sale will include items from local collectors and artists.According to Owsley, the goal is to raise $104,000 from multiple donors to be matched by $200,000 pledged by a group of "founders.""Multiple donors is the key," Owsley reported, "because we still have to demonstrate that there are many valley residents who don't want to lose the WC Community Center, also known as WC3. Woody Creek residents George and Patti Stranahan have granted a 25-year, rent-free lease to the WC3 nonprofit organization, Owsley said.
The $304,000 total goal is an estimate for the work needed to bring the building up to code, as determined by the WC3 board of directors, she said.Owsley said the "founders ... understand that if we don't fix the building now, we could lose this one-time chance to have a community center forever." She added that other in-kind donations have come in "for everything from painting to flooring" and that "it looks like we'll be able to start [the construction work] as soon as we get our permits" from Pitkin County.The fundraiser, she said, is also a membership drive for WC3.
Admission to Creekfest is open to all holders of what Owsley called "a Woody Creek passport," a purchased ticket that entitles the bearer to lunch and "permission to visit Woody Creek for the day."Silent auction bids can be submitted by calling Owsley at 618-1740.John Colson's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org