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Waterworks holds its 13th Annual Oyster Roast

Waterworks Visual Arts Center hosted its 13th Annual Oyster Roast on Saturday with what was billed as the first big party of 2018.

“Big” was the operative word. Some 400 tickets were sold for the night of fun, food and fellowship, leaving the event sold out.

“We had a mass of people waiting at the door, because we didn’t open the doors until 6:30,” said Waterworks board president Marianna Swaim. “We had folks lined up waiting to come in.”

Saturday’s festivities began at the Waterworks facility on East Liberty Street with a tour through the facility. Currently, exhibits include works by Ben Martin, Susan Lenz and Carolyn Ford.

This tour ended at the F&M Trolley Barn, where tables of food and silent auction items kept guests fed and entertained throughout the night.

On the menu were the iconic oysters and shrimp provided by Big Daddy’s of Lake Norman, barbecue and fixings by College Bar-B-Que. All were washed down with local ales, wines and soft drinks like those from New Sarum Brewing and Cheerwine.

“What everybody looks forward to, doesn’t save room for, but can’t miss is the ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery,” said Swaim of a contribution from local business owners Sharon and Richard Smith.

All fitting for an event with a theme of “Experience Local.”

Swaim said Waterworks staff and volunteers made this year one of the museum’s smoothest fundraisers yet.

“Our director, Ann Scott Clement, and her staff, they make it work so smoothly,” she said. “They are so well-organized.”

This was a feat, Swaim said, considering how many volunteers were involved. Numerous were on site to assist with tickets, museum tours, the bar and the silent auction table.

The Oyster Roast is one of two major annual fundraisers benefiting educational and outreach programs at Waterworks Visual Arts Center. Proceeds come from ticket sales, sponsorships and silent auctions sales.

This year, Swaim said the auction items were better than ever: a basket with over $600 in gift cards to local restaurants, local art and jewelry, and more.

Many auction items harkened back to that local theme, containing donations from North Carolina, Salisbury and county businesses. Participating vendors included Cana Farms, Carrie Poole Floral and Garden Design, Sparrow’s Nest, Caniche and The Lettered Lily.

Swaim said that Waterworks staff is still calculating the event’s revenue, but that they have “a really good feeling.”

“We had a great contingence of young people,” she said. “That’s always what we want. We love seeing new faces and bringing them in so they can come back often and bring their friends.”

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