Annual arts dinner focuses on unique theme

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Every summer, the Churchill Arts Council brainstorms on a unique theme for its annual fundraising dinner and silent auction at the Fallon Convention Center.

The council’s theme for its 33rd annual dinner on March has no doubt inspired reaction and further thought, said Valerie Serpa, executive director of the arts council.

At their long-range planning meeting last year, Serpa said the board brainstormed on an idea, and Dr. Tedd McDonald suggested Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico on Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and 2. In Mexico, family and friends gather to pray for their family members and friends who have died and remember them on their spiritual journey.

“We’re excited about the theme,” Serpa said.

Consequently, “A Day of the Dead Evening with the Arts” was born for this year’s event. According to Serpa, she said an animated movie released before the Day of the Dead in 2017 offers a better idea on the Mexican tradition.

“One of the characters sweetly explains the tradition of the Day of the Dead,” Serpa said. “it’s about remembering people who are gone.”

Serpa said each table will have a centerpiece, a skull with candles, and she encourages attendees to bring little photos of their departed loved ones to place around the centerpiece for those to remember and appreciate the people in the photo.

“If someone in the living world remembers them, they will never go away,” Serpa said.

So, how does a person dress up for the “Day of the Dead Evening with the Arts?”

“They can wear whatever they want,” Serpa explained. “Some will wear skeleton costumes or paint their faces. Some will wear Mexican dresses. The tradition has people wearing what their loved ones had worn.”

Serpa said the holiday and the Churchill Arts Council event are occasions for joy, not sadness.

During the silent auction, guests will be able to meander around the convention room and peruse the various donated items. Serpa said items will include home or restaurant dinners, staycations at local resorts, tickets to the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts Broadway series, the University of Nevada, Reno jazz festival, pieces of artwork crafts created by local and regional artists, fishing trips, private airplane rides, craft beer from local and regional brewers and many more. Serpa said the “A Day of the Dead Evening with the Arts” is the major fundraiser for the arts council that will help support programs and activities for the upcoming year.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with no-host cocktails and dinner at 7 p.m. which will be catered by The Slanted Porch. Serpa said the menu choices are “Surf & Turf,” herb crusted filet mignon with a red wine demi-glace and half Maine lobster tail and sides or wild mushroom-filled ravioli served in a light porcini cream sauce both with house-made focaccia bread and Caesar salad, dessert and wine.

Serpa said seating is limited. For reservations or information, call 775-423-1440 or email

Admission is $100 for dinner, which includes $20 worth of raffle tickets, or $90 for dinner only. Bidding on the silent auction items ends at 8:30 p.m., and afterward, Serpa said there will be a live auction.


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