Murder Mystery Dinner raises money for Kid Zone Early Learning Center

It was a night of whodunits and intrigue at the Murder Mystery Dinner fundraiser in Guthrie Center on February 25.

Sponsored by Panora Auto Parts, the show, called “Bullets in the Bathtub,” featured a group of actors from Jest Murder Mysteries, who wove an interactive tale about the 1920s, gangsters and speakeasies, raising money for Kid Zone Early Learning Center along the way. The event was planned to help raise money for a playground set for the day care facility’s Adair location.

The 120 people in attendance got to enjoy the show, a three course meal and a live auction. By the end of the night, around $5,000 was raised for the playground set.

“It takes a lot of time and energy and manpower to put on an event like this, and we can’t do that without the support of our community, so thank you all,” said Shannon Neff-Muell, a member of Kid Zone’s fundraising committee, during the event.

Kicking off at 6 p.m., the community building at the Guthrie County Fairgrounds was transformed into the scene of a speakeasy. Audience members were invited into the world of Red E. Mix, the local concrete salesman, Harry Hyde — the famous Russian mobster — and Trixie, the owner of Cherry’s Speakeasy. Everyone was thrown into the middle of a turf war between the Corneolis and the Buttafuccos, and name cards containing lines on the back allowed attendees to be a part of the show. Shouts of, “Hey, badda bing, badda boom,” and “Put the pedal to the metal,” rang out from the tables, accompanied by laughter from participants who just couldn’t keep a straight face.

“They seemed like they really had the crowd engaged, and I definitely heard some big laughs coming from the audience,” Neff-Muell said of the show. “I think they did a nice job. We’ve gotten some nice compliments, so I think people enjoyed it.”

In between the show’s three acts, the audience was served a meal of salad, steak, vegetables, potatoes, rolls and dessert. Each ticket to the event also included one drink, with a cash bar available as well. The Guthrie County Cattlemen grilled up the steaks for dinner, and dessert was catered by Hometown Foods.

Once the show was over, Laughery Auction Service hosted the live auction. Items up for bid were donated by local businesses, and included “A Taste of Guthrie County” basket, featuring gift certificates to La Villa, Owl’s Nest, PJ’s Drive In, and Zipp’s Pizzaria, and a “Getting Fit and Fierce” package, which contained a one month membership to the Guthrie County Hospital and Clinic’s Fitness Center, and a plum colored Fitbit Alta. In total, the live auction raised $3,500.

“We were pleased with that,” Neff-Muell said.

Although final bills from the event are still being processed, Neff-Muell believes the proceeds from the Murder Mystery Dinner will be enough to match funds from a grant recently obtained for the playground project from Adair County. If not, the numbers will be close, and the playground set should be able to be purchased fairly soon.

“We were really pleased with the event as a whole,” Neff-Muell said. “We want to extend our thanks for all of the business support that we received, as well as everybody that came to the show. To Laughery Auction Services for doing the auction for us. To the (Guthrie County) Cattlemen who did the grilling of the steaks for us, to our volunteers and to the fair board kind for manning the bar for us. There were just so many businesses and individuals that stepped up to help us. We can’t do it without that support.”


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Guthrie Center, IA 50115

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