Parents watch over children playing in a bouncy house at last year’s bash. A bouncy house will also be at this year’s bash Saturday at El Rancho Exotica north on Liberal. Courtesy photos
By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The Baker Arts Center will be hosting its annual membership event Saturday to express appreciation to all of its members, new and old and the community in general.
The event, which will take place in two parts, will be at the El Rancho Exotica Zoo north of Liberal.
The first part, which starts at 10:30 a.m., will be a more family-oriented event that will include a dunk tank, a bouncy house and other amusements along with a tour of the zoo. Children are also going to be allowed to paint the monkey wall by the monkey cages.
The other part will begin at 7 p.m. and is being catered by SJK Events and will include a DJ and dance after a short membership meeting. While the morning event is open to the public, the evening event is for members only.
“The actual event is more of an appreciation,” Toni Smith, executive director at the Baker Arts Center, said. “We are wanting to show them how much we appreciate their support to the arts center.”
Preparation for the event started in March when the zoo property was offered to the arts center as a space to do such an event.
“In the last five years or so, we’ve called it the Baker Backyard Blast and it used to be out here in the backyard,” Smith said. “And so this is the year we will be moving it off and going to the zoo.”
The event is $12 a ticket. If someone is a member and has joined between May 1 and June 15, they get 50 percent off, and if it’s been from June 15 to the day of the event, people get 25 percent off. Even if someone is not a member and still wants to come, the ticket is still $12, Smith said.
Smith hopes for a high turnout for the event, but it’s impossible to predict how many will actually attend.
“Even though this is a membership appreciation and a push to get new members and renewing members, we want the public to know they are welcome to come out. But we also want the public to know they are welcome to come into the center,” Smith emphasized. “They are welcome to any workshop or exhibit – they do not have to be a member. They can come in and see any workshop or any exhibit and find out what’s going on here at the center. We welcome anyone, they don’t have to be members.”
It is easy to become a member if they can’t attend the event, according to Smith. They can sign up either online, have a packet sent to them to fill out or they can go to the office itself at 624 N. Pershing and fill out the necessary paperwork.
“I hope by going out there, this year’s membership appreciation event shows the communities that are surrounding who come out there what Baker has to offer and they become members or they become supporters in some way of Baker,” Smith said.