Hundreds turn out for hastily organized Katrina benefit

PORT TOWNSEND — As many as 1,000 North Olympic Peninsula residents turned out for a Hurricane Katrina relief concert quickly organized for Monday at Fort Worden State Park’s McCurdy Pavilion.

Set up in less than four days by three Port Townsend residents, the Labor Day event generated immediate interest.

“We’ve gotten tremendous response from the community,” said volunteer Carla Main, who sold tickets and accepted donations.

“Some people have stopped by just to give us money.”

Guests were asked to donate between $5 and $10 — or more.

All proceeds went to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts on the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, organizers said.

“It’s been energetic,” said Red Cross volunteer Bob Hamlin.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day, and the crowd has been very supportive.”

Local musicians

As volunteers tallied donations from admission tickets and an auction, local musicians waited their turn to perform on stage.

“We are trying to help people in New Orleans in any way possible because they really need it,” said vocalist and songwriter Jarrod Bramson of the Solvents after his performance.

At the event’s finale, organizers still counted money generated by an auction of more than 150 items donated by the community and downtown merchants.

Several were sold for more than $100 each.

“People are in a desperate need,” said Seattle painter Hall Baetz, who donated one of his prints for the auction.

“It seems obvious.”

Children played softball and danced on the grass.

Near the stage, crew members filtered fuel from vegetable oil for their relief bus.

The bus, loaded with supplies, is due to leave for the Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

It is owned by the community nonprofit organization, Chautauqua, and the trip is sponsored by a network of area grass-roots organizations.

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