Casino event draws full house

Keith Strange Staff Reporter

September 25, 2013

Organizers say this year’s Casino Royale fundraiser for the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History was one for the record books, surpassing their expectations thanks in large part to a generous move by a long-time supporter.

“It was a great event,” said museum Executive Director Matt Edwards. “We couldn’t have asked for a better night. We had a great turnout, the gaming was fun for everyone, we had great food and the silent auction went very well. In terms of fundraising events, this one was fantastic for both the museum and the folks who came out to support us.”

While the museum hosts several smaller fundraising events throughout the year, Edwards said the annual casino night at Cross Creek Country Club is crucial to their operating budget.

“The money we raise through this event allows us to continue our operations and enables us to continue to offer the great, quality programming we’ve been able to offer to the community,” he said.

Edwards said Friday’s fundraiser out-performed both his expectations and the $25,000 raised at last year’s event.

“We did great,” he said. “When everything was said and done, we ended up raising more than $35,000 for the museum’s operational budget.”

Which wouldn’t have been possible without draw-down winners Ed and Dottie Shelton, the owners of Shelton Vineyards.

While at the event, the Sheltons purchased a $100 ticket on a chance to win $6,000 in cash.

“When they won the money, they turned around and donated it back to the museum,” Edwards said, shaking his head in wonder. “That was just a fantastic, unexpected move. These are the kind of people who see the value in the work we do here at the museum and are willing to show that support in a very tangible way. We have a long history with the Sheltons and in fact the seed money to start the museum in 1993 was provided by the Shelton Foundation.”

According to Edwards, more than 160 people turned out for Friday’s event, buying a total of 230 draw-down tickets. And the silent auction raised an additional $6,000.

And the crowd was diverse, Edwards said.

“For me it was interesting to see the demographics of the crowd,” he said. “We had folks who spanned all age groups, from those in their early 20s to those in their golden years. I think it was a really diverse sampling of the people in the community, which speaks to what we’re trying to do here at the museum.”

The museum director said he hopes to see the event grow again next year.

“I think it’s safe to say this is an event that’s getting bigger and better each year,” he said. “We’re already looking forward to bringing it back in 2014 and hope to see it get even bigger.”

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.