Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Fairfield Arts & Convention Center toasts to first decade

Sep 07, 2017

Fairfield has built a trophy case of awards rivaling communities much larger across the Midwest, including one of Smithsonian magazine’s top 20 best small towns in America to visit and the second coolest small town for a road trip by BuzzFeed; most recently, Fairfield was named to the top five list of the best towns in Iowa for the arts by Movoto, an online national real estate company.

One common attribute, cited by all awarding organizations, was the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and its Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.

That same center that has helped Fairfield attain various state and national accolades is marking its 10-year anniversary in 2017 and is kicking off the yearlong commemoration Sept. 16 with the celebratory event “Cheers to 10 Years” featuring dinner, live event painters, entertainment and “Raise Your Glass” highlights from the center’s iconic moments that have enriched, inspired and entertained more than 500,000 people over its first decade.

The Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, which opened Oct. 5, 2007, hosting Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk “Oktoberfest” and staged its Grand Opening Gala on the Sondheim stage the first weekend in December of that same year, is excited to celebrate this milestone, recognizing the durability, commitment and support of the patrons, guests, volunteers, sponsors and donors.

“We opened the doors 10 years ago to what we were calling a ‘world of possibility,’” said Suzan Kessel, co-founder of the facility with Sally Johnston. “That possibility has become a reality due to the many people who supported and trusted in the people behind this facility.”

The center is toasting to the first decade, 10 years spent deepening its place in Fairfield and southeast Iowa with an evening of music, comedy and mentalism entertainment reflecting the Sondheim’s performances — eclectic, unique and amazing.

Comedian and musician Tim Walkoe will take the stage following dinner with a fast-paced style combined with improvisation and music, reminding attendees of the entertaining and inspirational impact of live performances. Walkoe is no stranger to the big stage, taking home the $10,000 grand prize from ABC-TV’s “America’s Funniest People” and being a featured performer at the Chicago Comedy Festival the past four years.

Mentalist and humorist Devin Henderson will follow the comedy and music with a show that is literally an unbelievable experience that will make you laugh out loud and, at the same time, totally weird you out. While blindfolded with several layers of duct tape, Devin can tell you the brand of your Chapstick and the serial number on your dollar bill! But the craziest thing is when, with permission, he starts revealing people’s personal information at random: phone numbers, anniversaries, most embarrassing moments, childhood memories, Social Security numbers or ATM PIN numbers. And there’s so much more! You have to see it all to believe it, but even then you probably won’t.

Fairfield area artists John Preston and Gin Lammert will capture the center’s evening anniversary event in an artistic form of entertainment, each creating a unique original impressionistic work of art. Preston and Lammert will have easels positioned throughout the festivities where attendees can watch their paintings come to life as the party unfolds. The art, capturing the memory of the center’s event, will be auctioned off at the conclusion of the event.

The four-course dinner will be provided by Café Dodoci, ranked No. 1 in Washington, Iowa, by Trip Advisor. Dodici has garnered a number of culinary and people’s choice awards and referred to as “a true gem in the Midwest.” Dodici chefs will be serving an appetizer during the social hour beginning at 6 p.m. in the atrium. At 7 p.m., guests will be seated in the Expo Hall and served a salad and bread basket, followed by a chicken and pasta entree. The meal will culminate with Italian desserts: chocolate almond torte or panna cotta. Vegetarian or gluten free options are available if you let the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center ticket office representative know when purchasing tickets. You can also reserve tables for eight people, up to five days before the event.

“This event is all about saying thank you to the community and southeast Iowa as a whole, specifically to the Fairfield businesses and employees, especially our restaurants and caterers, who have been instrumental in our ability to grow over the first decade and provide memorable experiences,” said Johnston. “When we opened, we decided to offer the center as a catering opportunity and many of our town’s most talented chefs have helped us provide a variety of food options to our clients. We want to say thank you and invite them to our event and be on the tasting side of the table at the center.”

Tickets to the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s “Cheers to 10 Years” are $60 and available at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center ticket office, 472-2787 and online www.FairfieldACC.com through Saturday.

For information, contact Kessel at 919-2121, or Johnston at 919-2578.

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