Highlands Emergency Council cancels annual Bluegrass Bash

Fundraiser Raffle is still a go

The Highlands Emergency Council has cancelled this year’s annual Bluegrass Bash at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park due to COVID-19 restrictions and the risks of large gatherings.

HEC is staffed by volunteers and provides food, clothing, furniture, and fuel to those in need. HEC Program/Project Coordinator Maryanne Creswell said cancelling the bluegrass concert puts the nonprofit in a difficult situation as it is a big fundraiser for the organization. However, the raffle that accompanies the Bluegrass bash is still on.

Some of the ceramic items in the raffle to raise money for the Highlands Emergency Council.

“The raffle is so important this year,” said Creswell. “Our other fundraisers like the ‘Food for Fuel’ program at the Presbyterian Church, or the BBQ after the Christmas Parade, they may not even happen. This raffle may be it.”

The drawing for the raffle will be on Thanksgiving weekend and raffle items include jewelry, ceramic centerpieces, paintings, and multiple quilts.

Creswell said COVID-19 has hit area families hard and many are struggling. HEC was serving about 80 families in early May through the food program. As of last week, they are serving over 200.

“COVID-19 really affected our food program,” said Creswell. “We went from serving 80 families to over twice that. That’s hard for us because we operate on donations, grants, and the kindness of people’s hearts. The community really cares about the people in this area and we need their help now.”

Raffle Items and corresponding numbers below. People can purchase raffle tickets for specific items:

Creswell added that with winter coming, she anticipates a greater need than previous years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raffle Tickets:

  • Jewelry Pieces $10 for 6 tickets
  • All other raffle items are $5 for 6 tickets

Raffle items are on display at 71 Poplar Street, Highlands.

To donate to HEC directly, mail checks to P.O. Box 974, Highlands, N.C. 28741. For more information call 828.526.4357.

Pictured at the top of the article from left are Volunteer Marie Johnson and HEC Program Coordinator Maryanne Creswell

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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