Preparing to have a blast

10th annual Stanford Beautification fundraiser Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Preparing to have a blast

In addition to decorating the tables, bouquets of red roses are sold at the event, allowing attendees to take a pieces of the evening home and perhaps honor their sweetie with a bouquet. Photo by Andy Andersen

It may hard for some to believe the 10th annual Red Hot Blast is just around the corner. Fortunately the popular event is still going strong after a decade. It is a major fundraiser to keep Stanford beautiful, blooming and maintained.

“Year after year, people step up to the plate,” said Organizer Tess Brady.

The Red Hot Blast is Valentine’s Day-themed fundraiser for the Stanford Beautification Committee. While renowned for flowers in the summer, this group also decorates Stanford year round.

During the summer, there are literally thousands of flowering plants on or near Central Ave., around 4,000 to be exact. There are nearly 100 planters, plus accent items like an old car and a wagon, and about 40 window boxes.

In the beginning, Brady was inspired by Red Lodge.

“Little did I know at the time that they had a big water truck,” said Brady with a laugh.

Brady started beautifying Stanford in 1994. She initially hauled water in five-gallon buckets out of the back of her truck. She now has a Polaris with a water tank. In addition to planting and

In addition to planting and caring for these thousands of blooms on Stanford’s main street, the Beautification Committee members are the ones behind the fall décor, the Scarecrow Festival, and evergreen boughs, ornaments and lights during Christmastime and the Stroll.

The Beautification Committee is not just about decorations. They also help with infrastructure projects such as street repairs, the new planter in front of 4G’s, the mural on the side of the old Judith Basin Press Office and sidewalks.

The Red Hot Blast and the Wreath Auction in December are their main fundraisers for these projects. The community’s and business’s support for these events has been likened to as an investment.

The Red Hot Blast itself draws over a hundred people annually, from near and far.

“Ticket sales have been going great,” said Brady.

This year, there are no conflicting nearby events on Feb. 8, and Denton-Geyser-Stanford doesn’t have a game.

“That’s why we picked the date,” said Brady.

Attendees have much to look forward to this year. Couples and singles alike will find spots at tables and warm smiles to greet them. They will also get a festive night out in what would be an otherwise fairly quiet time of year.

In addition to camaraderie and community, there are door prizes, a prize wheel, a silent auction, a beer and wine tasting, and last but not least, a delicious steak and shrimp dinner.

“The silent auction was brought back by request, and we have great stuff for it,” said Brady. “We have almost a dozen very nice donated items.”

Kevin Hurlbut of Helena will return to keep the evening thrumming with his acoustic strumming. Sweets will flow freely at the dessert bar and in a chocolate fountain.

Auction items include getaway trips like a Professional Bull Riding Package, which includes a trip to Billings to see the PBR Rodeo, courtesy of Rod and Janine Merrill.

The second getaway is a trip to the Fort Peck Summer Theatre. The recipient can choose which play to attend after the lineup is announced in May.

Other live auction items are art pieces by local artists including Diana Roen, Andrea Harlow, Dixie Youderian, Wanda Taylor and Steve Lillegard.

Dawn Ridgeway created a king-sized quilt for the fundraiser.

Bill Miller donated a handmade bent willow bench.

Doreen Caquelin is donating six months of chocolates to one lucky sweet-toothed recipient.

Proceeds from all of these items, to be auctioned off by Bing Schmitt, will be put to good use. In addition to a fun night out, those attending the event can feel good about what they are giving to the future.

Proceeds from the Red Hot Blast will go toward keeping Stanford blooming and vibrant year round.