By MATT CRANE
The Friends of the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum are swinging open the saloon doors for a western-themed fundraiser.
On Friday, Aug. 17, the Shrine Club will open its doors at 7 p.m. for â€śDenim and Diamonds,â€ť an evening of food, entertainment and community in support of the Hertiage Museum for $35 per ticket.
Shirley Carley, fundraising committee member and museum volunteer, said while the dress code involves denim and peopleâ€™s best western outfits, women are encouraged to uphold the diamond aspect of the event.
â€śWomen should wear their real or fake bling that night,â€ť Carley said. â€śWeâ€™ll also have some bling for purchase.â€ť
Denim and Diamonds will feature a barbecue dinner catered by Little Dooey, drinks including beer and wine, door prizes, a silent auction and a â€śLegends: Past and Presentâ€ť tribute honoring Lynn Spruill and the late George Evans.
Carley said the event has a wonderful line up for its musical entertainment.
â€śWeâ€™ll have Joe Ray and Nancy Underwood, Ed Swan and Heath and Cindy Prewitt entertaining us,â€ť she said. â€śThereâ€™ll be some DJ music to fill in, and Betty Roebuck will be helping us with some line dancing which should be a lot of fun.â€ť
The steering committee for the Friends of the Museum included: Patsy Stuart, char; Ava Moore, co-chair; Wanda Thorne, co-chair; Armando de la Cruz, Ruth de la Cruz; Warren Housley; Shirley Carley; and Fairfax Montgomery.
Carley said tickets for the event are $35 and can be purchased at the Downtown Book Mart and Cafe, Thyme, the Heritage Museum and from members of Friends of the Museum.
Carley said the event is aimed to raise money for the museumâ€™s continuing indoor and outdoor projects.
In a letter released by Friends of the Museum president Wanda Thorne, indoor needs included: providing more display cases, enhancing the exhibits and providing more artifact storage; outdoor needs included: adding a green-roof pavilion to the rain garden to serve as a teaching model and a gathering place for refreshments or performances, permeable-surface parking spaces, new walkways and an extended lawn area.
The Okitibbeha County Heritage Museum has undergone numerous renovations over the past four years.
In 2008, the museum had a major interior renovation as the inside of the building was refurbished, new exhibits were erected and the layout of the museum itself was changed.
The multi-year rain garden project began in 2009 when the museum partnered with Mississippi State University landscape architecture faculty and students who provided free design and labor. Master Gardeners has also been a dedicated supporter of the museum.
The Okitebbha County Heritage Museum is operated solely by volunteers and owned by the City of Starkville.
For more information about the museum and the â€śDenim and Diamondsâ€ť fundraising event, call 662-323-0211 or visit http://www.oktibbehaheritagemuseum.com.