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Community Roast

The verb “roast” means, according to dictionary guru Miriam Webster, to cook by exposing to dry heat. So if early indicators prove anywhere near the truth, Darrell Voelker should be well done to scorched by the end of Saturday night’s 2002 Community Roast.
But under those circumstances, Webster’s definition for the noun “roast” would perhaps be more appropriate. And that is: “a banquet honoring a person who is subjected to humorous tongue-in-cheek ridicule by friends.”
So, although Voelker’s face may be red as a beet, he should be OK otherwise at the end of the evening.
A first in recent memory, the 2002 Community Roast at the Old Capital Golf Club in Corydon begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7. About 8 o’clock, 10 “friends” of Voelker’s will then take him to task, and will, perhaps, get even for the many years of long-winded tales (also known as “jokes”) he’s told at annual meetings of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County.
Voelker said he can’t, for the life of himself, figure out what all the hoopla is about.
“It sounds exciting,” he said, after musing that he doesn’t understand how the evening could be that entertaining, giving that he’s the best “roaster” around.
“The only person good at that is me,” he said yesterday, emphatically. “It’s not going to be that funny!”
Perhaps not, given that Voelker, a big man with a voice to match, has only been the director of the Chamber nearly 15 years and he has a penchant for beer and cigars, BIG cigars.
He’s threatening to wear a tux that evening. “If I come in looking serious, it’s going to be harder for them,” he said.
(Apparently he doesn’t think there’s anything cute or funny about those busy little rockhopper penguins at the Louisville Zoo.)
Most importantly, the evening’s events are intended to raise funds for Blue River Services Inc., a non-profit agency headquartered in Corydon. And that’s already happening.
Keller Manufacturing Co. Inc., based in Corydon with plants also in New Salisbury and Culpeper, Va., is sponsoring the event with a contribution of $3,000.
Those funds will be deposited into Blue River’s endowment with the Harrison County Community Foundation, which the Foundation will match dollar for dollar.
Blue River director Dan Lowe said the event is the first such fund-raiser the agency has held, but, hopefully, not the last.
“What we want to do is establish a systematic program of fund-raising and fund development to support the organization for the long run,” he said. “We’re trying to establish a solid program of fund-raising and community relations.”
He is looking forward to Saturday night. “I think it will be a lot of fun,” he said. “With the person we’re ‘honoring,’ there’s certainly a lot of material.”
Corporate sponsors have also reserved 12 tables, at $1,000 each, said Paula Craig, Blue River’s community relations coordinator.
After the scheduled roasters have had their fun at Voelker’s expense, the floor will be opened to others, Craig said. But they won’t have the last word.
“Darrell Voelker will have a response afterward,” she said.
Tickets will be available at the door for $75 each.
Blue River runs a number of programs, including those that serve the mentally handicapped, for residents in three primary counties, Harrison, Crawford and Washington, and provides some services in nine other counties in Southern Indiana.