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San Benito
June 22, 2024

Casino Night is chance to go all in for stage company

Call or fold?

It might be a tough decision sometimes. But if you’re a gambler or someone who enjoys the action of a casino, San Benito Stage Company has a night in store for you. Plus, you’re not going to break the bank either way.

The second annual Casino Night put on by the stage company is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the IOOF Hall, 330 Fourth St. in Hollister.

For the stage company, it’s a way to put on an entertaining event while raising crucial funds to help the organization pay for venues, royalties for shows and other costs necessary to put on performances throughout the year. Barnes also mentioned a 2,500 square-foot building used to house all of the company’s props and equipment.

“I think it’s big, especially now that we do not have a permanent residence,” said Derek Barnes, vice president of the stage company nonprofit organization, referring to upcoming renovation plans for the Granada Theatre where the group has performed the past decade. “We know that overhead is going to change for us going forward. We want to try and offer the same quality theater productions, but we also know there are unknown costs of these venues.”

The stage company is heading into its 20th year of existence in San Benito County. It includes a board of seven volunteer leaders and about 60 members in total, with just one paid administrative assistant.

Barnes said a fundraising event like Casino Night can help the group try and increase membership, too, while talking up the benefits of involvement. The organization’s offerings are not all strictly plays and musicals, either, as Barnes pointed out the stage company puts on talent shows and “sidecar shows” that are less traditional in nature.

Casino Night and a summer theater camp, which the organization recently took over from the Kids Rule organization, are its two primary fundraisers. As for Casino Night, last year’s was the first and was considered a success, he said.

There were just over 100 people who attended. This year, the group is aiming for more with a maximum of about 150 or 160 people, he said, noting how there aren’t many activities similar to a Casino Night in the Hollister area.

“It was a very good event last year,” he said. “I think everybody had a fun time last year. It was a fun night.”

Here’s how it works: The price is $35 in advance until Friday from Postal Graphics or online up to 24 hours in advance, or it’s $40 at the door. That pays for each attendee’s buy-in of chips as well. Everyone starts with $350 in casino money. They can play all night on it. But if someone hits $0, he or she can re-buy $200 in chips for $20.

Outside of the entrance fee for chips, there is a silent auction and alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase.

At the end, players receive tickets they can use to vie for an array of raffle prizes. The person with the most chips at the end will receive a grand prize package, which will include items such as membership, tickets to a show and a high-value gift card.

There will be entertainment in the form of dance performances as well.

“Which kind of brings our whole theater part into it,” Barnes added.

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