Barbara Lawlor, Gilpin County. Usually when one enters the Gilpin County Recreation Center, the scent of chlorine from the swimming pool wafts towards the open door. It is a clean smell inviting one to dive in. Last Saturday afternoon, the mouthwatering aroma of chili, red, green and white, reigned, hitting hungry stomachs headed for the gym, inviting them to dig in.
Neon-yellow vested volunteers greeted visitors at the High Country Auxiliary Chili/Silent Auction Fundraising event of the year. Winter is always a good time for a get-together, especially when the wind has blown for days and nights and weeks. This is when everyone feels like they’d like to throw the kids in the car and get outta’ town. With a couple of wildfires blazing in the flatlands, mountain people were reminded that red flag season is just the other side of March and it’s time to let our local firefighters know we are behind them. A thank you is good, a pat on the back is good, and money is great.
The Chili Dinner has no frills, just great chili with the sides and hundreds of silent auction items that anyone could use. A line grew under the free septic pump service, and special wines and exquisite glasses were also popular. An old-fashioned Victorian doll dressed in frilly undergarments and lacy skirts caught the eye of the young girls in the crowd. They also liked the hand-made barn filled with horses.
Over 250 people attended the event and hundreds of gift certificates hung from the walls: great deals on massages, on restaurants, oil changes, on paintings and photographs and gewgaws, baubles and trinkets that someone was sure to love. Probably the coolest item on auction was a kid-size roll-top desk. The fancy dandy turkey fryer also had people signing up over and over again.
The Timberline Fire Protection District made sure that everything got set up and taken down and that all the tables went back home. The High County Auxiliary puts much time and effort into the dinner and the auction, along with the Flea Market and Pancake Breakfast in the summer, bringing in the funds to support the fire district’s necessities not covered in the budget.
Old timers Bev and Elroy Adams said, “Oh, we have come here forever because we support the county in whatever they are doing.”