Returning to the Roaring ‘20s

Andrew Wagstaff
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Speakeasy night Feb. 14 to raise funds for YMCA Strong Kids campaign

AMHERST – The Roaring ‘20s will come back to life here next month, as the Cumberland YMCA goes back in time to raise funds for its Strong Kids campaign.
The fundraiser will be held at Amherst Regional High School on the evening of Friday, Feb. 14, providing an opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day in unique fashion, while supporting a worthy cause.

Cumberland YMCA employees Jeff Tees and Laura Coleman are among those looking forward to the upcoming Roaring ‘20s fundraiser for the YMCA Strong Kids campaign. The event will take place on Friday, Feb. 14 at Amherst Regional High School.

“It’s going to be so much fun,” said CEO Trina Clarke. “We hope people get into the spirit of things. It’s just a really fun evening with a lot of different things.”

Originally scheduled for last October, the first-time event was moved to February so it would not conflict with other community events that were taking place in the fall, she explained.

“We wanted to have a good turnout for this, first for Strong Kids, but because the more people we have, the more fun this event is going to be,” said Clarke.

Doors will open at 9 p.m., with the ‘20s experience beginning with live music in the lobby. Also utilized during the evening will be the school’s theatre and cafeteria, featuring a fun casino section, a bar and light snacks.

From 9:45-10:45 p.m., the Susan Taylor Theatre will be transformed into a speakeasy, with cabaret-style performances including jazz and vaudeville acts. Performers will be in vintage 1920s costume, as will all staff and volunteers on hand.

Those attending the event are also encouraged to wear 1920s-style clothing, but they do not have to, Clarke explained.

From 10:45 p.m. to 1 a.m., the dance portion of the event will take place, with live music from The Shakedown Combo.

“The Shakedown Combo is music for anybody,” she said. “They are terrific, and put so much into every performance. It will be worth coming, just to see them, but with everything else it’s going to be a night with something for everybody.”

The February date coincides with the time of year when the YMCA normally holds fundraisers for Strong Kids, a national effort aimed at raising public awareness and financial support for the work the YMCA does to provide children and families with subsidized programming.

Having the event on a Friday night not only gives people a chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day in unique fashion, but also leaves them with the rest of the weekend for other plans they might have had.

It’s also a pretty good deal, for $20 per ticket, Clarke pointed out

“Valentine’s Day is one of the only days of the year where people feel like they have to do something,” she said. “For $40 a couple to be able to go out for an evening of entertainment, have a couple drinks and a nice spread that everyone will enjoy… it will be a lot of fun.”

Tickets are available now at the YMCA or from any Cumberland YMCA board member.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: YMCA, Susan Taylor Theatre

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