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A hometown benefit many miles away

A Wadena benefit west of Minneapolis will raise funds for the Community Center and Trees For Wadena, and Sunday, Oct. 31 is the deadline for cheaper tickets.

The fundraiser event, scheduled to be held from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14 at the Medina Entertainment Center, will feature WCCO-TV meteorologist Mike Fairbourne as emcee and entertainment by the Backseat Boogie Band and the White Iron Band.

"The bands are there donating their time. Everything is being donated," Matthew VanBruggen, co-chair of the Wadena Relief Benefit, said. "It's put on entirely by volunteers. No one's being paid any money. Every dollar that gets donated is going to be coming back to Wadena."

Tickets are $30 if purchased before Nov. 1 and $40 if purchased after Nov. 1 or at the door.

VanBruggen said that Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden will speak at the event, and there will be appetizers and a silent auction.

"It's not going to be black tie. It's going to be casual," he said. "Families are welcome. Kids are welcome. It's designed to be for everyone."

VanBruggen said the event was designed to tap into outside resources and do fundraising for Wadena outside of Wadena.

The invitation card describes the event as a chance to meet friends and renew old acquaintances, and it lists the high school graduation years of the event's organizers.

"This idea came to fruition through some folks down in the Cities that have ties to Wadena," VanBruggen said.

He said that Mike and Barb Engelmann contacted Wolden and Don Bottemiller. Barb Engelmann is originally from Bertha, he said.

VanBruggen, himself a 1993 graduate of Wadena-Deer Creek High School, said the event had been planned since July.

VanBruggen said that the Medina Entertainment Center can accommodate several thousand people and is west of the main metropolitan area.

"You don't have to travel into the Cities to get there," VanBruggen said.

The Medina Entertainment Center is on 500 Hwy. 55, Medina, Minn.

For information, visit or call Tracy Adams at (763) 479-4499.

"People can donate on the website, they can buy tickets on the website, they can get more information on the website," VanBruggen said.