Even before the entrees are finished, Chester Park looks very busy on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Carol Franchetti / Carol’s Café benefit to help rebuild businesses in Greenville and Canyon Dam. There was quite a lot to do and it was a great chance to visit with a community that has been in virtual hibernation for some time. It was impossible to make a perfect count, but well over 300 tickets were sold and a few folks just showed up. Bottom line, about $31,000 was raised at the event. Photo by Gregg Scott

Town turns out to celebrate Carol’s Cafe and benefit Greenville and Canyon Dam

By Gregg Scott

Staff Writer

 

One of the wonderful advantages to living in a small rural community is the way “mountain folk” come together in times of crisis. Just a short time ago (July) Carol Franchetti, owner/operator of Carol’s Café in Prattville, was planning a celebration of her 50 years in that business location.  Then the Dixie Fire that interrupted those plans.  As a result, Franchetti decided to modify her celebration into a benefit dinner to help revitalize the business community in Greenville and Canyon Dam, both devastated by the fire.

Fast forward to the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 11, to find somewhere around 300 community members at the Chester Park in support of her benefit – and that’s just the folks that came to enjoy a great meal featuring barbequed tri-tip and chicken. Before the barbeques were lit or the food was cooked, there were dozens of people delivering and setting up tables and chairs, setting up the trailer mounted grills, delivering food containers and a myriad of other event equipment.

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Franchetti expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the community and all the people who worked so hard to make the event a success.  The morning found members of the Chester Boy Scouts and Chester Rotary along with numerous members of the Prattville Fire Department delivering and setting up tables and chairs. Franchetti’s own Café staff, lead by Bonnie Acebedo, were responsible for much of the pre-prepared food. Heath and Christi Chase of Cravings were in charge of the folks the barbequed the meat entrees and were ably assisted by Wendy Morris and Gerry Herring.  David Price along with the Ken Wilson and Andrews family served virtually all day and helped with many tasks. Brian Miller set up the Adult Beverage location and Steve Lawson provided the music.  “There are way too many people to thank. I know I am forgetting somebody, but I want to thank you all,” she stated.

She also had a special thank you for Joyce Ruschhaupt and Jane Scott for putting together the silent auction booth that generated over $4,000 for the event. In total with the auction monies the efforts produced about $31,000, the final amount yet to be determined because individual donations are still coming in through the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment site.  If you have questions about donating, please contact Moorea Stout at (323) 248-7057. Franchetti said, “Moorea has been indispensable throughout this whole process”.

Finally, Franchetti did want to let everyone know that she is closing Carol’s Café for the rest of this season. With only two more weeks to go and the unreliability of her power, she said she just can’t take a chance of losing more revenue. But she will be opening again next spring as usual.

One of the often-frequented locations was the Silent Auction booth set up by Joyce Ruschhaupt and Jane Scott. Carol Franchetti noted that they procured many very nice items within a limited amount of time and their efforts helped raise over $4000 for the event. Photo by Gregg Scott
Is it any wonder that attendees were there early? The aroma and the sight of the barbeques covered with Tri-tips and golden browned chicken would be enough to lure anyone in, not to mention a couple of tables of delicious looking desserts. Photo by Gregg Scott