ROCKSPRINGS — Chester Shade Historical Association (CSHA) held its annual banquet last Friday evening, which incoming President Dan Will described as “one of the main fundraising events for the year.”
Chester Shade operates two significant historically buildings in Chester: the oldest courthouse in the state and a school dating back to the 1830s.
The banquet opened at 6:30 p.m. in the Meigs High School cafeteria, where the association served a home-cooked meal and two hosted fundraising auctions.
Association members, Meigs businesses, and members of the community donated a large variety of items for auctioning – some homemade, like quilts and and maple syrup – some corporate, like gift bags and vouchers – and some novel, like a hand-carved telephone in the likeness of an eight point buck.
Professional auctioneer Chris Collins volunteered his services for the evening, the Athens businessman said it was his first year working with CSHA, and noted there would be plenty for him to work with, saying “there’s 75 items here…that’s a lot items (for an auction).”
After a successful standard auction ran by Collins, the event moved to the silent auction. Between the two, all 75 donations found buyers.
Will said banquet attendance had increased from recent years, and that some membership drives would be an emphasis when he takes over this summer.
Current President Dave Schatz, speaking during dinner to the audience, welcomed the attendees and spoke positively about the future of the association.
He added, “We have two tremendous buildings we are responsible for, (the Chester Courthouse and Academy)” which the organization runs and maintains but are owned by the county. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the County Commissioners for all their support.”
The Eastern High School National Honor Society assisted with setup, cleaning, and as stagehands.
Substitute NHS Advisor Kirk Reed explained helping the Historical Association “is a good community project, and Chester Courthouse is in our school district – I really like the idea of our kids helping out in our district.”
He also noted close involvement with an auction could be a new experience for students, as well as the mechanics of civic organizations.
Reed apologized if he seemed distracted as he listened in on the auctioneers opening announcements, “You’ll have to pardon me, I came ready to bid.”
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel