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By Leila Dycus staff writer

The Caboose in Rutledge was transformed into a stylish cruise ship last Saturday as the Beautification Committee held this year’s Rutledge Downtown Soiree.

The Bon Voyage Fun’ Raiser began at 7 p.m., and the money raised will go towards city park improvements in Rutledge. “A lot of people helped put this together, the whole community came together,” said event organizer Rosanna Lamb. “Welcome Aboard,” called the greeter at the door, and, once inside, attendees were pointed toward the party to see that the Caboose’s dinning room had been transformed into an ornate cruise ship.

Tables, topped with sailor hats, leis, and beads, lined the walls to get guests dressed for the occasion, although many were already dressed in nautical apparel.

Appetizers were served by crewmembers and a large table was filled with other treats. At the front of the ship April Allen, a local singer, provided entertainment for the evening, and passengers were encouraged to dance the night away.

For those less inclined to dance, a casino was located at the rear of the ship. People mingled with friends and even had the chance to make some new ones.

Rosanna Lamb, event organizer, praised Molly Lesnikowski, Caboose owner, for providing the space and food for the event. Lesnikowski was also the one behind the theme for the event.

Lamb went on to say that this is the fourth fundraising event for the Beautification Committee. In years past, the event boasted themes such as Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day.

“This is the Beautification Committee’s one and only fundraiser,” said greeter Sue Ellen Verner. Beautification Committee Treasurer Bonita Sheese explained that the money raised would go to help with the city’s park.

The Beautification Committee works with the Rutledge Garden Club to help keep Rutledge spruced up. Lamb said that the money raised at the event would provide supplemental funds to aid in installing a curb in the park.

Attendees were able to donate through the purchase of their tickets, but could also become a “Friend of Rutledge” by donating additional funds. Donators who became “Friends of Rutledge” earned themselves a position on the Wall of Honor on Fairplay Street.

As guest bid the cruise au revoir it was evident that the event was a success. “It’s great for the community to have a place to play,” said Lamb.