The Blodgett-Summit Community Club’s Taco Bar and Auction fundraiser will be staged Saturday evening. (Photo provided by Philomath School District)

After four years of hosting no events, the Blodgett-Summit Community Club returns Saturday evening with its inaugural Taco Bar and Auction, which will serve as the organization’s primary fundraiser for three college scholarships.

Admission to the event is $5 per person with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m., dinner beginning at 6 p.m. and the auction to follow at 7 p.m. There are no advance ticket sales, just pay at the door.

“We basically decided to put this auction and dinner on in late March,” club member Sarah Nelson said. “It was during spring break, actually, when we had our first meeting. It’s a really fast turnaround but the community out here hasn’t had an event since 2019 … I think people are excited to help and people are excited to come and hopefully it’s a really good time.”

The Taco Bar and Auction replaces the Dime-a-Dip Dinner that had been organized for several years.

“The main reason it is a taco bar dinner and auction now is simply because it is against Benton County health code to host public potlucks where people are paying for a meal that hasn’t been prepared in an approved kitchen,” Nelson said. “The best way we could find to continue to host a large community dinner and auction was to offer a prepared meal. We picked tacos because everyone loves tacos!”

In the past, Dime-a-Dip’s auction featured desserts but organizers have expanded to include other items, including a couple of half cords of firewood, a ton of wood pellets, various baskets put together by community groups and wine from a few local wineries, Nelson said.

As far as the desserts, Nelson said the event is expecting to have more than 30 — including “a banana cream pie that is sought after out here — I’ve seen it go for hundreds and hundreds of dollars.”

The event raises money for the club’s three scholarships that are available to any youth that attended Blodgett Elementary School for at least one year. Each scholarship awards $1,000 to the recipients.

“Two of the scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors, the Bill Ayres Memorial Scholarship and the Steven Bruce Moos Memorial Scholarship,” Nelson said. “The third is a continuing education scholarship awarded to students who are continuing their college or vocational schooling but are not seniors in high school.”

Club member Cheri Damitio said funds from the families of Connie Weaver and Jim and Cathy Lannan were contributed in their memories for the continuing education scholarship. Nelson said it’s an award that can be reapplied for annually.

Ayres was a lifelong Blodgett resident who died of cancer at age 36 in 1979. A car crash took the life of 17-year-old Moos in 1982 just a few months after graduating from Philomath High School.

The Blodgett-Summit Community Club’s number of active volunteers have dwindled in recent years. Nelson said she “just kind of walked into joining” and also brought in some friends.

“The older members are excited that there’s some of us newer members to help bring some energy back in and get some events going,” Nelson said.

The club said the Taco Bar and Auction will serve as the organization’s primary fundraiser this year but the group would eventually like to host other community events as it becomes more active.

“I’d really like to see some family nights hosted out there for the parents and kids and just community-gathering type of fundraisers as well,” Nelson said.

Damitio said the club has also raised money through a returnable cans and bottles donation box located outside Blodgett Country Store. The club’s volunteers sort the cans and bottles to create revenue for other expenditures.

Damitio said the club has given to the Blodgett-Summit Rural Fire Protection District, Coast Range Food Bank and to the school to purchase supplies, pay for field trips and help with an end-of-the-year school party.

“We have donated money to community members whose home has burned and occasionally around the holidays a donation has been made to community members who have had a particularly tough year,” Damitio added.

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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