Art, food, music and dance

With the Salida SteamPlant on solid funding ground, the nonprofit organization Friends of the SteamPlant is switching its focus.

Instead of a fundraising campaign for the SteamPlant this fall, the group is throwing the community an all-day, free party to say “Thank you.”

The event, Celebrate Salida, will start at noon Sept. 15 and end at 10 p.m. The event includes art demonstrations, food, live music and a dance performance.

The Salida Circus will kick things off on the plaza, and Blue Recluse will round out the day, taking the theater stage at 8:30 p.m.

Gayle Anne Dudley, who has been involved with the SteamPlant since before the city took ownership, said the event is a chance to give back to the community that has given so much financial support to the event center.

Celebrate Salida is made possible by the Friends of the SteamPlant and the Molly Grether Fund.

Bob Grether said his late daughter’s fund supports three nonprofits, but the SteamPlant is the most important focus of the fund.

“We always believed in the mission of the SteamPlant to serve this community in the broadest way possible.”

Grether and Dudley said they plan to host this event annually.

“One complaint I hear about the SteamPlant is that it’s too expensive. I don’t agree, but we want everyone to participate,” Dudley said.

Grether said, “We hope to bring members of the community that have never been there before. We see the SteamPlant as the city’s family room.”

Food will be served on Sackett Avenue from 11:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. by Crossroads Cafe, Seasons Cafe and Dominos.

Grether said there will be a plein air contest and the winners will receive cash awards plus a chance for their work to be used for the next year’s event poster.

Want to be a friend of the SteamPlant? You can join by making a donation or through volunteering. Contact Dudley for more information, 719-221-0651.

Dudley said she’s been involved with making improvements to the SteamPlant for 24 years.

“It spoke to me. I’ve always loved theater  the SteamPlant pulls me in. It’s just a place for everyone, and everybody is welcome. Bob and I have given our hearts and souls to the facility and it’s given back to us time and again with the talent that comes through the doors.”

Grether said the focus of the event is to “emphasize local talent. I’m so impressed with the multi-talented people we have in this town. It’s amazing.”

If interested in making an online contribution before the event, visit