Breaking the case

Audience solves 'murder' at fundraiser

Amy Fitch enjoyed last year's Mystery Dinner Theater fundraiser for Recreational After-school Doorway so much that she decided to join the board.

This year, she was at Saturday night's winning table.

"This is just such a fun time," Fitch said. "It's a unique entertainment experience."

The second annual event was held Friday and Saturday nights at the Holiday Inn of Craig. The show, performed by Red Herring Productions of Colorado Springs, called on audience members to solve the "who-done-it" case.

Fitch and two other Moffat County deputy district attorneys solved the murder case with the help of their teammates. Fitch said she was pleased they could pull it off.

"It's a nice break from the daily grind," she said.

Red Herring Productions performs 85 shows a year in several Western states, primarily for corporate functions. Members also perform dinner shows on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Cañon City.

The cast members say they enjoy dressing as and portraying their characters, and they even argue during dinner, as their characters would.

Fitch and Doorway director Dianne Borgard said the evenings were about more than just having a good time. The fundraiser comes at a critical time for the organization.

"This fundraiser is more important than ever," Borgard said. "Our (youth) numbers keep growing. Our budget keeps declining. It's sad."

The fundraiser brought in $8,000 last year, and Borgard estimates this year's event mat--ched that because organizers added a second performance.

Final profit numbers from the dinners and silent auctions were not available Sunday.

Borgard said the weekend's proceeds, in addition to a recent $20,000 tobacco funds grant, would keep the program going.

Recreational After-school Doorway is a program that teaches youths skills and hobbies, and provides tutoring and homework help.

Area youths can participate for free. Last semester, Doorway programs included 184 area youths.

Borgard said she was pleased with the community's response to the fundraiser. About 180 people attended Friday night's show, and 140 attended Saturday's show.

"Everybody is so excited because it's back again," Borgard said.

She said she is considering a Western-style mystery show in conjunction with the Moffat County Fair to raise money during the summer.

But for now, she's ready for a rest from the stress of putting on such an affair.

"The outcome has been very rewarding," she said. "But I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off."

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