It’ll be a night to remember.
Dining in downtown Hays’ boutiques will be on the auction block starting Monday, a fundraiser for downtown’s chamber.
"This table right here," said Sandy Keller, co-owner with her husband, Norman, of Regeena’s Flowers & Events. "We are going to have eight."
The Kellers on Friday were preparing flowers for a Saturday wedding, but stopped a moment to talk about the auction and the dining experience they and eight other locations will offer on Friday, Sept. 25.
"It’s something to do in a smaller group, in a smaller setting, where people can still get together with their friends but not a big group, and come to downtown and have a night out," said Sandy.
"The Art Walk and all of our wonderful events that brought the community down here," said Norman, "they’re not happening right now."
While some events have continued, like the Downtown Market, Bach’s Lunch and Bazaar on the Bricks Sidewalk Sale, the nonprofit Downtown Hays Development Corp. earlier this month canceled one of its bigger fundraising events, what would have been its 5th Annual Brews on the Bricks Craft Beer Festival.
The Keller’s came up with the idea for a fun, small-dining experience, and a way to raise money for DHDC, the organizer for many downtown events from Frostfest Parade to Wines and Steins and the Saturday Farmers Markets.
"I think it’ll be fun," said Sandy. "The group that buys our table, they’ll have good food, they’ll have drinks, they’ll all leave with a prize. it’s just a fun dinner out."
Bidding starts at 8 a.m. on Monday and runs until 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11.
Eleven tables will be auctioned at eight locations downtown. Besides Regeena’s, they are Hays Arts Council, The Furniture Look, Body + Soul, BriefSpace, Home Elements by Jenny, Refine Lifestyle Boutique, and Simply Charmed.
Tables will seat eight or fewer, with some locations offering two tables.
Dining for all locations is 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25.
"Every experience will be a little different, and the business owners are excited to spoil and pamper guests with beautiful tablescapes and personalized gifts," said a press release from DHDC.
Each of the four courses will feature downtown restaurants.
On the menu:
• An appetizer antipasto platter of artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, hummus, grilled flatbread, mozzarella cheese, bruschetta, crostini and salami. Presented by The Press Craft Kitchen and Cocktails.
• A salad of mixed greens with Green Goddess dressing. Presented by Gella’s Diner.
• An entree of 6oz Filet of Beef with demi merlot sauce, roasted rosemary potatoes, and whole maple glazed carrots. Presented by The Press Craft Kitchen and Cocktails.
• Dessert is the diner’s choice of mini chocolate bundt cake with fresh raspberries, whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle, or turtle fudge cheesecake with rich chocolate, chopped pecans, and caramel drizzle. Presented by Augustine’s Bakery.
• Alcohol is included in the dinner and will be personalized to each table’s preference.
To end the evening, each guest will go home with a customized gift from their venue of choice.
Bidding minimums start at $300 and up, with outright purchase available as an option at $1,000 and up.
"One of the primary goals of this event is to create the social interaction that everyone needs while promoting physical distancing," said Allie Glidewell, director of events for DHDC. "For this reason, individual tickets will not be sold. Instead, we will be auctioning full tables. We hope this ensures guests are dining with someone they already know and are comfortable being in close contact with."
"We’re just so excited about this concept," said Sara Bloom, DHDC executive director said. "It’s going to be such a fun experience to be able to look out of the windows of say... Furniture Look or Refine and see other diners enjoying the same but different dining adventure."
Exclusive to the dinner guests attending, will be the chance to bid on three signature items: an elegant dinner for eight donated by Joslyn Brungardt; a private dinner for 12 donated by Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing; and a special dinner and drink package for six donated by The Press Craft Kitchen and Cocktails.
Each will offer a personal interaction with your chef in an intimate setting.
"DHDC has found it necessary to cancel several of our events this year, including our annual auction," Bloom said. "We wanted a way to bring people downtown while hosting a fundraiser for DHDC. Dining with Downtown felt like an appealing way to do just that. We owe the whole idea to Norman and Sandy Keller at Regeena’s Flowers. They approached us about having a table inside their boutique and it has blossomed from there."
Visit the online auction site, www.32auctions.com/downtownhays, and see other items up for bid.
"Thanks to many generous donors, items such as a sapphire pear shaped cocktail ring, other dining experiences, spa packages, gift baskets, gift cards, and more will also be available," said the release.
For more information, please visit www.downtownhays.com or reach out to Allie Glidewell at 785-621-4171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.