Denim & Diamonds event to help raise money for renovating fairground

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Al Sturhahn places a diamond in a gold MU Tiger pendant. Sturhahn Jewelers is an official MU Tiger jewelry store. Al and Leslie Sturhahn donated a MU Tiger necklace to be raffled at the Denim & Diamonds fundraiser for the fairground. The $1,500 necklace features a diamond collar and a diamond for the tiger's eye. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $20 a ticket at Sturhahn Jewelers and Harriman Law Firm. (Contributed photo by Shelly Arth/Saline County Fair Association)

Saline County Fair Association will be hosting its third annual Denim & Diamonds event starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Saline County Fairground. The event is to raise donations for the remodel of the fairground's bathing and shower areas, and will consist of a silent auction, cocktails and dinner.

Jill Lilleman, chairman for the event, said the grounds are host to a variety of occasions from big events -- Cornhusking, 4-H and FFA shows -- to small events -- picnics, barbecues and weddings, to name a few. With a steady flow of visitors throughout the year, Lilleman said the old bathing and shower areas are not very accommodating.

"The bathhouse is just not very nice. It smells, it's hard to clean, the fixtures were in disrepair," Lilleman said. "... It's not handicap accessible right now, which it needs to be. It's not friendly to families."

Lilleman said the plan is to have a men's side and a women's side, but in the middle to have a general family section that would also be more accessible for the handicapped. As to the interior work, she said the remodel will be extensive.

"The inside will virtually be gutted," Lilleman said. "The ceiling, the stalls, some of the stonework or masonry work on the inside will be removed."

Lilleman said these improvements will open up the area more with new entrances, they will offer more showers, new toilet areas and be user-friendly.

Because of the cold and snowy weather, the local contractor, Danny Dillion of D & D General Contractors, hasn't been able to complete much work.

"We anticipated him starting in January, but the weather has not cooperated at all," Lilleman said.

Currently, Saline County Fair Association has raised roughly $36,000 towards the project, but their goal is to reach around the $55,000 mark. The first event raised about $20,000 and the second event raised about $16,000. To reach their mark this year, a total of about $19,000 is needed.

"It's a fun evening. We have really good food," Lilleman said. "... Auction items are always nice. We're working on a couple trips this year. We have some very nice items coming from FFA."

Tickets for the event are available at Harriman Law Firm and the cost is $50 per person or $500 to reserve a table of eight.

Contact Jesse Brown at jbrown@marshallnews.com

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