Annual BBQ helps preserve Saratoga’s history

September 30, 2010 — by Sabrina Cismas

Saratoga’s Garrod Ranch hosted the Saratoga Historical Foundation’s annual BBQ and silent auction this year on Sept. 19. This BBQ is an important fundraiser for the foundation because it supports the events and activities the foundation does, such as the collecting of important artifacts and records for the Saratoga Museum, along with their safekeeping and display.

The museum is also an important resource for history teacher Matt Torrens’s APUSH classes. Students are required to do two hours of community service per semester for the museum.

“The [service] forces students to connect with the community in which they live in,” Torrens said. “Most students aren’t even aware of the history of Saratoga.”

Student get the opportunity to learn the diverse and surprisingly interesting history of their city through the volunteering, Torrens said.

About 150-200 guests including members from the Saratoga Historical Foundation and Saratoga citizens attended the fundraiser.

The silent auction was directed by auctioneer Frank Sunseri, and impressive prizes were auctioned off such as a private studio tour of KBAY by Lissa Kreisler, a dinner with and prepared by the Saratoga firefighters and weekend getaway packages. Smaller items such as gift certificates and paintings done by local Saratoga artists were auctioned off as well.

Entertainment at the event included music provided by a Saratoga group named the Skillet Likkers, who took the guests back in time with old favorites.

In addition, some people dressed up as famous historical figures and mingled with the crowd. One of these masked figures was Jack Mallory, a Saratoga resident who dressed up as Edwin Sidney Williams, a congressional minister.

“I wore his signature hat and suit and got into character,” Mallory said. One of William’s important contributions was founding the annual Blossom Festival, which celebrated the end of a long drought on March 20, 1900.

The location of the event at Garrod Ranch was not chosen without historical consideration; the Blossom Festival takes place at the ranch. The beautiful hillside ranch plays host to a vineyard, ranches 150-200 horses that belong to Saratoga citizens, and grows many prune trees, whose fruits are a signature staple of the Blossom Festival.

“It’s a great place to visit,” Mallory said. “It shows that some farming is still done in Saratoga.”

Overall, Mallory said that this year’s fundraiser had been another success.

“Luckily, it wasn’t oppressively hot that day,” Mallory said.

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