Eagle County 4-H hosts its annual dinner to raise funds
Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry is back after two years
The annual 4-H Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry is back, and local 4-H clubs are back in a big way as well.
Jenny Leonetti, the local coordinator of the youth program, said she’s been surprised by the comeback of the local clubs after the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last few years. About 260 kids are signed up for the 12 clubs, which specialize in livestock raising, sewing, dog obedience, cooking, shooting and more.
To keep things going during COVID-19 restrictions, clubs did a lot with Zoom and other online resources. Leonetti gives credit for the momentum to the leaders of those clubs.
“A lot of counties are seeing quite a decrease in enrollment, and ours is just exploding,” she said.
Todd Oppenheimer is one of the leaders of the Whistling Bullets club, which focuses on shooting sports and archery. That club usually meets inside during cold weather months, then moves outside to the Gypsum Shooting Sports Park. That club met outdoors only during the pandemic, so it was able to keep active.
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This year’s enrollment is pretty healthy, Oppenheimer said.
“I was kind of surprised (about enrollment) when we were finally able to get together,” Oppenheimer said.
Getting all those kids into clubs takes support, and that’s the point of the Oyster Fry.
Leonetti said the Oyster Fry raises money for 4-H scholarships and awards at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo. Clubs can also request “mini-grant” funds from the proceeds.
There’s plenty of entertainment to go with the Oyster Fry’s good cause.
There’s food, of course, but if Rocky Mountain oysters aren’t your thing, there will be roast beef. Other dinner items include mac and cheese from Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que, rolls, cole slaw and desserts courtesy of local 4-H families.
Dinner is served by a dedicated corps of volunteers.
In addition to dinner, there’s a kids corral with a bouncy house, mechanical bull, petting zoo and face painting.
More funds are raised through silent and live auctions featuring items including Yeti coolers, a string weed trimmer and power tools. The live auction will feature a pair of firearms donated by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
A cash bar is available for adults, and the Troy Harris Band will play for the crowds.
The band plays until 10 p.m., which is when it’s time to go home. When you do head out, you’ll know you’ve helped a bunch of local kids while you’ve had a good time.
What: Annual 4-H Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry.
Where: Eagle River Center, Eagle.
When: March 19, 5-10 p.m.
Why: It’s a fundraiser for local 4-H clubs.
Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and younger, and adults 65 and older.