The Rockodiles’ Kenny Mihelich kicked off what has snowballed into today’s mega-street dance. And it’s a party with a mission: To raise upwards of $100,000, for victims of Hurricane Katrina, is what coordinators Sally Puff Courtney and Stu Fraser are anticipating.
“Omigod,” says Telluride Town Clerk M.J. Schillaci, whose department has worked hard tying up loose ends for the ersatz festival for the last several weeks. “We have so much stuff. We have the Rockodiles playing, as a donation. We have a Kids Corner,” organized by Sue Berg and Sue Chesler, complete with everything from an arcade-style photo booth to “a castle kids can walk through” (compliments of Viking Rental) to games, face-painting, hula hoops and food (in the form of a bake sale, with items from Brown Bag, Baked in Telluride and Indian Ridge’s Barclay Daranyi). Kids will be selling water from BIOTA, and sodas from Telluride Rotary.
Over at the Telluride Elks Booth, hotdogs and hamburgers will be for sale (meat and buns donated by the Elks, Diggity Dogg, and Village Market).
Picaya’s Lisa Horlick will bring the wine, donated by Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, and the KOTO Beer Booth will feature New Belgium Beer, donated by that Fort Collins-based brewery.
Arleen Friedman and Barb Bayne are donating their accounting services; Mountain Lodge, some free lodging; and Dean Rolley is doing the sound for free. Jim and Marilyn Skelley are making signs, and Mark Steele designed the poster that was printed for free by Scott Printing.
Sofio’s Dave Schroeder is coordinating the Telluride Restaurant Association’s contributions, which focus on food with a New Orleans theme – jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice are just three of the items on the menu, and Telluride Association of Realtors’ Bill Fandel and Kim Havel are working with Sally Puff Courtney to organize their fellows’ participation. On Wednesday alone, “I got two checks from two brokers for $2,500 each,” Courtney reports.
“Everything is a work in progress at this point,” a hoarse-sounding Courtney said Wednesday night, fielding phone calls.
Organizers hope to add their $100,000-plus to the already hefty $30,000 raised the weekend after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast by the Telluride/Mountain Village restaurants’ Donation Dinner, organized by Chair 8.
“If everyone pays $100,” says Courtney – donation buckets will be posted at the entrances – “we’ll easily raise $100,000.” Her optimism is thanks in part to KOTO fundraiser doyenne Jan “Jumpin’ Jan” Zink, who said, upon hearing of the snowballing plans, “Sally, this could be the street dance of all street dances,” going on to say crowds numbering 1,000-2,000 people could be anticipated.
Roughly 35 people have been coming to the street dance organizers’ Monday meetings; Kate Wadley has taken over coordinating volunteers; Peggy Reedy is working on the clothing drive; Eileen Andrews is helping to coordinate security, and Joyce Waldman has worked on publicity and on the auction.
Telluride’s festivals have kicked in, with free event passes from the Telluride Film Festival, Bluegrass, Blues and Brews, Jazz and Mountainfilm, two each, to be auctioned off by Dick Unruh.
“There’s a connection between Telluride and New Orleans,” opines Fraser, of the outpouring of support. “People here go to the New Orleans Jazz Festival; we had our own Fat Tuesday parade until we stopped a couple of years ago.
“The bottom line is that people here were just devastated” by the misery wrought by Katrina, “and needed to have a feeling that there was a source they could go to, to help.”
Funds raised today at the street dance are earmarked for the Southwestern Colorado Hurricane Relief Fund (60 percent), the Baton Rouge Fund (35 percent) and New Orleans community radio station WWOZ, which has not yet been able to return to broadcasting.
The nod to WOCC came about, says KOTO Executive Director Steve Kennedy, in part because that station “has hosted” countless National Federation of Community Broadcasters “down there, and, in the past, they have given us some good guidance helping us with events and fund-raisers.
“We have a relationship with them,” he adds, “and would certainly like to see them get back on the air.”
The bulk of the funds raised, explains Schillaci, is going to the Southwestern Colorado Hurricane Relief Fund because “that’s where we can effect change. We can make a difference there.”
Schillaci chose the Baton Rouge Fund after an Internet search for “an organization that was on the ground, knows the area and knows the needs” of the hurricane refugees – a decision seconded by the Telluride Foundation’s Lorrie Mahoney, a former resident of New Orleans.