‘Mr. Healdsburg’ raises at least $17K for Raven
Preliminary estimates are in for the Mr. Healdsburg Pageant held Saturday night and organizers say it has raised at least $17,000 for the Raven Performing Arts Theater. Audience participation – during the event audience members can place their votes in the form of donations in their favorite contestant’s specially marked boxes or vote online — was about $5,000, a 25 percent increase from last year.
Although Carol Noack, who produces the show, says the Raven is still counting expenses and receipts, she estimates they’ve raised almost as much as the $20,000 they netted last year. The popular annual event, which just celebrated its 10th year, has been the chief fundraiser for the Raven, the 400-seat theater that plays host to a wide range of music, theater, movie and charity events. The money raised by the Mr. Healdsburg Pageant and the recently added “Dancing with the Stars” helps offset operating expenses for the theater which has an annual budget of $350,000 (with less than half coming from ticket sales).
Mr. Healdsburg, a parody of a beauty pageant, was won this year by retired banker Paul Downey, 74, who received a standing ovation for a performance Verde’s aria Di Provenza from La Traviata, in the talent portion of the event. He outlasted six other contestants, including local musicians Brandon Hassur and Chris Rovetti, who joined Downey as the evening’s three finalists.
A panel of five judges and audience voting selected the winner who will reign for a year, attending parades and community events. The other contestants were Mark McKenzie, a server at Bistro Ralph’s, firefighter Eric Smith, winemaker Ronald Du Preez and Ravenous chef Daniel Gene Bishop.