Mounted on horseback, a group of outlaws sporting red bandanna masks wait for the signal. A train whistle blows, as the man with sad eyes and worn black hat rides in holding an empty canvas bag and gun. He’s ready to get the party started.
In a scenario that took place in 1906, Bill Miner and two other masked bandits attempted to rob the mail car on a Canadian Pacific Railway train travelling between Kamloops and Monte Lake.
They barely got away with what would today amount to $15, but the law soon caught up with the man known as the Gentleman Bandit, and the rest is history.
Patrons can soon experience the legacy that Bill Miner left behind when he and a band of outlaws kick off the fourth annual Hands Up! Fundraiser and Auction at Caravan Farm Theatre June 1.
“Our event starts with a bang. We have a posse of outlaws, played by some of our well-known local and visiting theatre actors from the Coast, who will be done up in chaps and the iconic red bandannas over their faces,” said Estelle Shook, Caravan’s artistic director. “There will be an outlaw chase involving horse riders and Bill Miner on the lam.”
“This is our one main fundraising event of the year. People can expect a romantic western- style evening. We go for all the archetypes and work in the mystique around Bill Miner’s legacy,” said Shook. “He was said to be like a Robin Hood figure, a gentleman bandit who took the monolithic CPR head on. He was also said to share with the less fortunate.”
Not only will guests get to meet the outlaws and horses, who will be resting in Caravan’s new open-air decagonal horse barn with its recycled tire roof donated by Kal Tire, they will also get to bid on donated items at the live auction.
While the outlaws will serve as spotters, Armstrong’s champion auctioneer, Don Raffan, will be back to lead the live auction. Up for bid are items ranging from golf and spa packages, as well as outdoor activities and gift baskets.
Guests can also indulge on grilled gourmet burgers made from Grade A beef supplied by Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen in Vernon, as well as organic ales brewed by Sorrento’s very own Crannóg Ales.
A roving bar will also provide beverages for purchase to thirsty folks inside Caravan’s timber barn, where Salmon Arm’s Steel Skull Hammer will perform its toe-tapping country sounds.
“Our open-air timber barn is the perfect atmosphere for an event like this and Steel Skull Hammer are a real delight to watch,” said Shook. “They will bring us into the western theme, and everyone is encouraged to dress up in their best western wear.”
All proceeds from Hands Up! go towards Caravan’s summer, fall (Walk of Terror) and winter productions.
This summer, the farm is presenting Peter Anderson’s The Coyotes, July 16 to Aug. 11.
Tickets for Hands Up! are $25 for adults and $12.50 for youth 16 and under, available in advance at caravanfarmtheatre.com, or pay $30/adult, $15/youth at the gate.
Music starts at 6 p.m., with the auction beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Caravan Farm Theatre is located at 4446 Salmon River Rd., 11 kilometres northwest of Armstrong.
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