Winter Park: Comedy night to raise money for those in need |

Winter Park: Comedy night to raise money for those in need

by Cyndi McCoy
Winter Park, Colorado

Through events like the upcoming Comedy Night, several friends have made it a goal to help Grand County residents during troubled times.

Grand Amigos organizers Jim Silvestri and Roger Hedlund simply wanted to lend a hand with the not-for-profit endeavor.

“We’re just a bunch of yahoos trying to make a difference,” Silvestri said. He said one of the group’s missions is “sustainable fundraising, because everybody benefits.” Although OK with its current modest existence, he said he’s “sure it’ll grow into something deeper.”

Silvestri “got the vibe from Roger” to start something up and said the two actually “have a really fun time doing fundraisers,” especially the part when they get to give the proceeds away to someone deserving.

The two, along with the help of Craig Crippen, Patrick Giblin, Cecil Lockwood, Michelle Hedlund and Jill Suffin, hosted their first fundraiser at the 2008 Grand County Blues Society’s Blues From the Top Festival. They didn’t even think about what they’d do with the money they made, Silvestri said, until afterward.

Their “grand gesture” of a $700 donation to the family of Abbey and Doug Wiborg came out of a concession stand they manned at the event. The money helped the Wiborgs cover a neurosurgical appointment for their son, Jake.

“Grand Amigos showed amazing community support for our family,” Abbey said in a letter of thanks.

Last summer, when gasoline prices were at their peak, recipient Motor Coulson was driving to Denver every day for cancer treatments. Grand Amigos came to her with a generous donation that “not only boosted my spirits, but helped me through a very difficult financial time,” she said.

“There’s so much need right now,” Silvestri said. “There are people that have unbelievable stories. You hear it more and more.” For their second-annual event, he and the Grand Amigos are hosting a night of good food and humor.

“Let’s face it, we all need a laugh,” he said.

Eight comedians are volunteering to share their perspectives on life’s little quirks, including two from Grand County. Zeke Burmaster, of Granby, has been sharing his sense of humor professionally for almost two years and will serve as emcee for the evening.

“Helping people in the community is huge,” he said. “We hope (the comedy night) will be the first of many shows.”

Giblin, also of Grand County, has been a professional comedian in the Seattle, Wash. area for more than a decade. Resident Tim Miller will be the D.J.

Several others will be presenting sets, many Burmaster knew through Comedy Works of Denver: Jodee Champion, Paul Berloute-Shey, Andy Kaufman, Nichole McCormack, and headliner is Peter Cohen. Limited tickets (about 24) will be available at the door.

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