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Whodunit: The Experiential ORE Murder Mystery Dinner

Imagine—Crested Butte in the Roaring Twenties. The mines are running 24/7, the bars are hopping with the sounds of local musicians, hooligans, miners, cowboys and questionable ladies and the air is pungent with coal dust. It’s a pink-orange sky evening in August, a rowdy Friday night. ’Round about midnight, as Powerhouse steam plant worker Clint McCandless finally quenches his thirst and is heading home from the Elk Mountain Saloon, he decides to check out unusual noises coming from his place of employment. As the door creaks open, he sees a young woman slumped beside one of the small turbines. Finding no pulse, but body still warm, it’s the Elk Mountain Lodge innkeeper and beauty, Eva Korona—dead.
The town is in shock. The sheriff begins the investigation, a real whodunit. Could be a number of disgruntled townies with numerous motives—like Luigi Sartana, an obsessed bartender lusting after Eva, or perhaps the jealous soiled dove, Betty Boyle, who longed for Luigi’s attention.
The scuttlebutt about the Butte was that Joe Novak, who worked the Big Mine, was having a tryst with Eva—or maybe his wife, Sue, discovered his infidelity? Maybe Graham Stumpf got even with Eva for stealing one of his chickens while she was in a hungry, drunken stupor. And what about Clint, the one who found Eva’s still-warm body? Who’s to say he didn’t do that dirty deed for someone?
Yes, indeed. Who’s to say?
You are.
It’s up to you to solve this mystery, so all you Sherlocks, get with it. Certainly you have the appropriate costume attire in your Buttian get-up trunk or closet, since costuming-up in the spirit of the times is encouraged but certainly not mandatory at the Office of Resource Energy’s (ORE) SustainaBall Murder Mystery Dinner this Friday, August 9 starting at 6 p.m. at Mountaineer Square Grand Ballroom.
It’s a farm-to-table dinner with regional and local produce, and there’s no mystery that it will be scrumptious and nutritious.
The dinner is being put on by one of ORE’s latest projects, Local Farms First program, a one-of-a-kind, online farmers market for Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s even a 501(c)3 non-profit market, run by more than 50 growers with 100 percent of the profits going directly to the growers.
It allows the public to order fresh, local foods online, every week, and then have it delivered. The goal and mission is to create better consumers and wholesale and institutional access to local foods, while providing local family farmers with an easy way to sell their delicious products.
Customers get to choose what they want, how much they want and when they want it from a wide variety of top quality seasonal produce, meats, dairy, eggs, baked goods, processed food, crafts and more. Even better, all of the food is chemical-free and USDA Certified Organic, Biodynamic, Certified Naturally Grown, chemical-free or well beyond any organic certification—and always locally grown and raised.
The SustainaBall Murder Mystery Dinner is new and now an annual fundraiser for ORE. Communications director Kristen Van Hoesen explains the Experience Live Auction taking place at the dinner. “All live auction items are experiences like a Mexico vacation, a hot air balloon ride, an amazing special winter getaway at Pioneer Guest Cabins up Cement Creek, even unlimited airline tickets.”
To flavor the night, local favorites the Gypsy Jazz Social Club will perform. The dinner comes from local farms with a choice of fish, chicken or veggie entrees and is a three-course meal with appetizers and an open bar. Drink all you want and take the free Mountain Express bus back down the mountain.
“It’s all about promoting a self-sufficient Gunnison Valley for generations to come,” Kristen says of this and other ORE programs. “The SustainaBall is a 1920’s theme and people are encouraged to come in costume. We think it’s a delightfully different idea. Each table will have the opportunity to choose who they think ‘done it,’ and there’ll be clues at each table. It’s a new and different way to look at Crested Butte and its history.”
In addition to the Local Farms First program, ORE has created and offers many sustainable programs including Energy Smart, a residential and commercial energy efficiency program with more than 70 businesses in the valley signed up. They also offer education and training as well as services and consultation. So, don’t be clueless—or “greenless”—check out ORE’s programs and head over to the SustainaBall for some great locally produced food, libations and a bit of roaring whodunit.
SustainaBall Murder Mystery dinner is Friday, August 9, at 6 p.m. at Mountain Square Ballroom. Tickets to the SustainaBall Murder Mystery Dinner are $100. For reservations and more information on ORE’s programs and services contact ORE at (970) 596-2516 or go to resourceefficiency.org.

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