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Tue, Aug. 03

Friday night will be grand at the Opry
Music, entertainment, prizes and more on tap for Friday's fundraising event

The Opry Band includes (from left) Debi Campbell, Greg Mendonca, Jan Bardwell, Marlene Cole and Phil Sanzari. Submitted photo

The Opry Band includes (from left) Debi Campbell, Greg Mendonca, Jan Bardwell, Marlene Cole and Phil Sanzari. Submitted photo

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Come one, come all to the Grand Opry Night at the Williams Rodeo Barn this Friday at 6:30 p.m. and enjoy an evening of good music, lively dancing, tasty food, refreshing beverages, raffles and door prizes.

Now in its 10th year, this semi-annual Williams tradition, held at the northeast corner of Airport Road and Rodeo Road, is a fundraiser that benefits the Williams chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Friday's show will mark the 20th Grand Opry performance.

Long-time event organizer Ruth Sanzari has recently stepped down from her position but will still be involved with the Opry, just in a reduced capacity. According to Opry Band member Debi Campbell, she has taken over as music coordinator and the board has taken over putting together the Opry as a whole.

"Other than the [Williams Opry] band, everybody who's performing is new. The Opry band is pretty much the same, we do have one other person helping us this time though," said Campbell, music coordinator and guitarist. "The other people who are entertaining have not done the Opry before, but they're all local people, so they're real excited and so are we."

The Williams Opry Band is Phil Sanzari, Greg Mendonca, Jan Bardwell, Marlene Cole, and Campbell. Also entertaining will be Bob and Chris McCarty, Janae Stephens, Aaron Mendonca, and the Cowboy Poetry of Buck Williams.

The Opry's main attraction is always the music, but the ever-popular cakewalk is back as well. Hot dogs, water, and soda will be available for purchase also. Hot dogs are $3 and water and soda are sold for $1 each.

"The food is very reasonable," Campbell said. "And what's really great is the prices for getting in have never changed since we started this event in 2003."

Entrance to Grand Opry Night is $6 for adults and $3 for students and seniors over the age of 62. Tickets for families of four or more are just $15. All tickets are available at the door the night of the event.

"The Opry can hold close to a couple hundred people," added Campbell. "The last Opry we raised the most we have ever raised, nearly $2,000. Since we started we've raised over $27,000 total. We feel that's a great accomplishment and we're proud to keep going."

Opry-goers are encouraged to come early to look over all the raffle prizes and auction items up for bid. Items up for auction and raffle in the past have included Bearizona Wildlife Park passes, hunting gear, tools, and a juicer among many others. This year's featured item to be auctioned off is a vintage 1970s Seeburg Stereo Jukebox. Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

Campbell said she looks forward to seeing everybody come out and enjoy the over two hours of music, entertainment, dancing, and socializing. The Opry loves to welcome regular patrons and also newcomers who may be experiencing the event for the very first time.

"The event usually ends around 9 p.m.," Campbell said. "It's a real fun time, for attendees and performers, for everybody."

The Williams Grand Opry is a fundraiser that benefits Williams Habitat for Humanity. This worthwhile organization has already built two homes in Williams and they want to build more to help deserving people in need. So come on out for a great time and help fund Williams Habitat for Humanity at the same time.

For more information, or to donate an item for raffle or auction, call Campbell at (928) 699-5747 or Sanzari at (928) 635-0386. All proceeds from the concession sales, raffle and auction also benefit the Habitat for Humanity Williams chapter. The Williams Habitat for Humanity chapter can be contacted at (928) 707-2963.

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