Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

NENA fundraising party draws neighbors despite the cold weather

Posted on 25 February 2019 by calvin

Despite six inches of snow on the ground and temperatures heading toward zero, 40 people showed up to hear live music and nibble on appetizers at the first annual Neighborhood Jam Fundraiser. Held at the Off-Leash Art Box, 4200 E. 54th St., on Feb. 9, the event helped raise $835 for the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association.

The neighborhood party replaced the two-year-old Crock Pot Contest and was originally scheduled for the fall. “We had venue scheduling problems, said Becky Timm, NENA’s Executive Director. “We couldn’t find an appropriate location and didn’t want to have it in December where it would compete with so many other events. The Art Box was open in February, so we booked it.”

Photo right: Charlie and Gilly Olson and Rory and Marian Thompson chat while waiting for the musical entertainment at NENA’s Neighborhood Jam. (Photo by Lisa Dahle)

Tickets for the event were $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 7 to 18, with free admission for younger kids. The Neighborhood Jam included musical entertainment, a silent auction, hot cocoa, custom mocktails, meatballs, chips and dips and more.

Those attending the afternoon event were entertained by local musicians including award-winning folk-rock performer and composer Greg Herriges, My Cousin Dallas (they describe themselves as a garage rock and Americana band) and the Huge if True jazz combo.

Robin Gast, an exercise and movement specialist at Aero Dance Fitness, led the crowd in ‘GROOVE’, a dance exercise program new to the Cities. “I am friends with Lisa Dahl who is on the board of NENA,” she said. “She asked me to come and do a group demo.” Gast teaches around the cities but has recently started a Saturday class at nearby Yoga Quest in Richfield. “I fell in love with the philosophy, left my corporate job of 23 years and am now trying to start up my business.”

Photo left: Guitarist with My Cousin Dallas, one of the local musical acts to preform at this year’s NENA fundraiser. (Photo by Lisa Dahle)

The event also included a Nokomis East trivia contest with multiple-choice questions such as, ‘In terms of population size, Nokomis East is approximately the same size as what city?’ (The answer is Bemidji.) “It was fun, but the questions turned out to be harder than I thought they would be,” said Timm. “The highest score was 10 out of 15.” The team of Kent and Elke Knopp-Schwyn took first place.

Local businesses donated items for a silent auction including two oil changes from Nelson’s Auto Repair, a Nokomis East gift basket, an electric guitar from McDonald’s Liquor and Wine, items from local artists and gift cards from Oxendale’s, Nokomis Shoe Shop and other local businesses.

Photo right: Dance moves as gentle exercise, moving to the GROOVE. (Photo by Lisa Dahle)

Timm said that NENA might switch venues next year, perhaps expanding the Jam and holding it at a restaurant. “We’d like to have more things for the kids, so families don’t have to worry about getting babysitters. We might have more games, maybe a face painter.”

“It was a fun night,” she said. “We’re planning on doing it next year but haven’t yet decided how to move forward. Next year though, we probably won’t have it in February.”