CHINOOK - A host of hard-working volunteers, generous donations and a feast of German food made for another successful fundraiser for Friends of Chinook School last week. About 270 people attended the fourth Oktoberfest, which included a sauerbraten meal with all the trimmings, silent and live auctions and German music.

Friends of Chinook School (FOCS) Vice President Loma Billups said profits from the fourth-annual event just about equaled last year's. "It was a fantastic party," she said. "Next year, we hope to have it in the gym. We should have plumbing and electricity in by then." Funds raised go to restoring the historic Chinook School and Gynmasium.

Last week, Joanne Leech, owner of the former Sanctuary restaurant and a Chinook School alumnus, prepared (with the help of a bunch of volunteers) a complete sauerbraten meal and Andrea Patten, Christl Mack and Andrea Mack performed German music. The Sanctuary is now an antique store so Leech and her helpers removed all the items for the festive dinner, then put them all back. "It's the Chinook way," a longtime resident said.

FOCS rented a tent from the Port of Ilwaco to house the auction items. Billups said the tent nearly blew away because of strong east winds a couple of days before the event. "It took the time and equipment of local fishermen and Bell Buoy Cannery employees to secure it for use by Tuesday," she said.

"The auction was our largest to date," Billups said. "Folks enjoyed bidding in the silent auction and those who joined auctioneer Cliff Fox of Puyallup in the live auction had a good time. Another successful and lucrative event has continued the community efforts to restore the Chinook School and Gymnasium and we're all looking forward to next year's event."

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