It’s time to, like, totally get your ’80s rocker look on this weekend for one of Salida’s biggest and brightest annual events – Casino Night, hosted by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chaffee County.

“Casino Night is an incredibly fun annual party and an opportunity to thank our friends and supporters,” said Brian Beaulieu, executive director. “Each year we bring in live music for dancing, plan fabulous games, offer a cash bar and feast on sumptuous food catered by our friend Phanny at Little Cambodia. No small community in Colorado gives more to help kids than Chaffee County.”

Fifty local businesses are sponsoring this year’s ’80s-themed event on April 22, including two title sponsors, High Country Bank and Monarch Mountain. Live music will be performed by local band Hairitage and door prizes include a refurbished vintage bike, rafting certificates and a gift from Serving Slabs. A Napa Valley Wine Tour will be the highlight of the live auction, and the annual Fund-A-Need event will allow everyone in attendance a chance to directly support kids and BGCCC programs.

Funds raised at the 2016 event totaled just over $30,000, and Beaulieu said the capital collected is critical for the program’s success. “Nearly 78 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to kids and programs.”

This year, the BGCCC’s greatest financial needs are scholarships for children, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programming support, field trip subsidization and art supplies for the 780 children served between the ages of 6 and 18.

Casino Night 2016 enabled 10 members of BGCCC’s Europa Rover Team to travel to the Great Sand Dunes National Park last week to compete as the youngest team at the event. The youth had been preparing for the challenge for the past 16 months. Over the past two years, 55 BGCCC youth participated in the National Fine Art Exhibit competition, producing two first-place regional winners from a field of 3,000 clubs nationwide.

Each year, BGCCC board members select a recipient for the Club Hero Award to be presented at the event. This year’s beneficiaries are a “power team” – former BGCCC Executive Director Wendell Pryor and his wife and board member Janine Pryor. “Casino Night 2017 is particularly special because we get to thank Janine and Wendell. They believe in kids, and no one advocates more for the future of our kids than they do! They personify what we mean by a Club Hero,” Beaulieu noted.

Nearly one in three children in Chaffee County takes part in the programs at the BGCCC, either at a club or at school. The costs of after-school programming can be a challenge for working parents, and local Boys and Girls Clubs aim to support families as much as possible while providing enrichment and connection. “Our ultimate goal is to serve more kids, better,” Beaulieu added. “There’s something for everyone at the Boys and Girls Clubs. We’re a stronger community because the clubs are open 238 days a year to all elementary, middle school and high school kids. How cool is that?”

Casino Night begins at 6 p.m. at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $25 per person or $40 per couple in advance, and $30 each and $50 per couple at the door.  Volunteers are still needed to work as black jack dealers (training is available) and in the areas of food preparation, clean up and more. For more information, to purchase tickets, become a sponsor or to volunteer, contact Beaulieu at 719-539-9500 or director@bgcchaffee.org.