OWATONNA — For 51 years the Steele County Clothesline has been serving area residents in need.
And Mary Fink, executive director of the Clothesline, wants to continue to help Steele Countians.
“We need to keep it going,” Fink said. “We don’t want to lose it.”
On Feb. 15 at the Owatonna Country Club, the Clothesline will host a black-tie event featuring a dinner, live auction, dance and a murder mystery called “Murder of a Millionaire.”
Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. where attendees may enjoy an alcoholic or non-alcoholic pear ginger martini, which comes with the ticket.
Around 6:30 p.m., guests file into the dining room for dinner, which includes parmesan-crusted salmon, beef medallions or Waldorf chicken.
“It’s an upper-end dinner,” Fink said.
During dinner, the murder mystery will begin.
“Someone killed Rick A. Rochester,” Fink said. “It’s the murder of a millionaire.”
This is the Clothesline’s first black-tie event, and it is replacing the organization’s annual auction basket fundraiser.
“Some people in the community said they were ready for a black-tie affair, so we are calling it a 'black-tie affair to show you care,'” Fink said.
She said a group of about 20 community members met last fall for a brainstorming session to determine what was wanted from a fundraiser.
And they all wanted to be entertained, Fink said, and that’s when the murder mystery idea surfaced.
“We started with one idea and kept hitting stumbling blocks, but the idea evolved and this is what we have,” Fink said.
She said some people may be shying away from the event because of the attire.
“We won’t turn anyone away because they’re not in a nice suit or a woman doesn’t like wearing dresses,” Fink said. “We just ask that you be as formal as you can. It is a formal affair.”
After dinner, guests will have the opportunity to bid on desserts made by bakers from the area.
“There will be an envelope on each table, and the people at the table will have 15 minutes to stuff the envelope with cash or checks. Whoever has the most in the envelope at the end will be able to pick the table’s dessert first,” Fink said. “It’s another little fundraiser within our fundraiser.”
After dessert, there will be a live auction for two items including a five-course Italian dinner for eight and El Tequila meals and margaritas for eight donated by the owners.
From 9 to 11 p.m. there will be a dance with a DJ, and in another room, Doug Madow will play the piano accompanied by vocals from Rebecca Somers.
“There will be two choices for people,” Fink said. “It’s all about choices and constant entertainment.”
Tickets for the event are $100 each and include a martini, dinner, the murder mystery and entertainment.
They are available at St. Clair’s for Men, Dream Day Bridals by Marcia and the Steele County Clothesline.
Fink hopes to raise $20,000 at the event.
“The funds will go toward keeping the Clothesline available in the county, keeping it in a handicap-accessible building and remaining in its current location without downsizing,” she said.
Fink said people who are unable to attend the black-tie event may still donate to the Steele County Clothesline. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 933 in Owatonna.
“It’s still a way to help us do what we do best, which is helping people in need,” she said.
The Clothesline is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.
For more information, call 451-2550.
Reach reporter Ashley Stewart at 444-2378 or follow her on Twitter.com @OPPashley