Keeping the house open

The Blairsburg Opera House Preservation Committee raised over $3,500 at Saturday night’s 2013 dinner and auction fundraiser.

Held in the historic landmark building, the fundraiser drew a crowd of over 75 supporters who bid on over 50 donated items from individuals and businesses in Webster City, Blairsburg, Iowa Falls, Williams, Kamrar and Hamilton County.

Auction proceeds will help purchase chair storage units which double as tables and for restroom updates, said Bob Sinclair, Blairsburg Opera House Preservation Committee member.

Last year’s auction proceeds were used to carpet the opera house entry way and stairs. Lighting the entrance hall is a recently installed crystal chandelier donated by Russ and Allison Appel of Webster City.

The 118-year old opera house is a multipurpose community center for Blairsburg and surrounding communities. Throughout the years it has been used as a roller skating venue, auction house, tavern, storage for a seed corn dealership and as a car repair shop.

During World War II, community members used the hall to roll and package bandages for the war effort.

After many years in private hands, the City of Blairsburg took ownership of the opera house in 1993.

The Blairsburg Opera House Preservation Committee was formed in 1998 and took over the stewardship of the building. Since that time, it has worked to update, restore and refurbish the building.

In the ensuing years, the opera house has been used for family gatherings, high school class reunions, a banquet hall, wedding receptions and high school dances in addition to hosting theatrical and musical events.

Bob Sinclair expressed appreciation to area merchants, individuals and community members on behalf of the Blairsburg Opera House Preservation Committee for making the 2013 fundraiser a success.