Mural fund-raiser box social flashes back to Roaring '20s

By Reggie Ellis

All you fellas and flappers get ready to put on your glad rags for the keenest party this year. The Exeter Mural Team invites you to flash back to the Roaring '20s for its annual Garden Party fund-raiser on Saturday, May 15 at Mixter Park.

Women are encouraged to come in flapper dresses and men are encouraged to come wearing bolers, caps and straw hats. You can beat your gums at the social hour at 6 p.m. and then sit down for a box social dinner with apple pie a la mode for dessert at 7 p.m. There'll be plenty of hooch and giggle water but this ain't no gin mill so try not get fried! Be sure and drop some dough on the more than 200 swanky items in the live and silent auctions. Tickets are $30 per person. Tickets must be purchased by May 10. Table sponsorships are available. The "Roaring '20s" is $500, "Speakeasy" is $400 and "Prohibition" is $300. For tickets and table sponsorships call the Exeter Chamber of Commerce at 592-2919.

Proceeds from the Garden Party help provide future murals and preserve existing murals.

"The murals provide us with economic diversity and a way to market our community," Chamber CEO Delora Buckman-Merritt said. "They allow us to bring in new money that isn't being recycled in the community. This event is the only fund-raiser of the year for the murals and should be a lot of fun."

Mural Team member Brian Barton said much more emphasis will be put on preservation in the coming years than generating new murals. He said many of the 21 existing murals have faded and cracked.

"The Cattle Drive mural on Exeter Meats has chunks missing where the plaster cracked and fell off," Barton said. "The plaster will have to be glued back on and it will have to be covered in a protective coating."

Barton said he estimated that coating the "Cattle Drive Down Rocky Hill" (Nadi Spencer,1997) could cost as much as $,4,000. He said each mural requires about 30 to 40 coats of the "mural sunscreen." The city's first and largest mural, "Orange Harvest," has already been touched up once since it was painted by artists Colleen Mitchell Veyna and Morgan McCall in 1996. Barton said the west facing mural will require another touch up, which is negotiated with each artist and cannot be done without the artists consent, and a protective coating. He estimated that may cost $6,000 for the 30 foot by 90 foot mural on the west wall of his shop Exeter Antiques.

What better way to rejuvenate the historical murals of Exeter than injecting the youthful enthusiasm of the Roaring '20s.

It'll be the bee's knees.

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