Henry County Historical Society
to benefit from play

Murder mystery, auction
to be held at Smith Berry Winery

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (April 2010) – The Henry County Historical Society only has one major fundraiser a year. For that reason, it’s a showstopper.
“In the past, we haven’t had a theme, but we’re switching it up this year,” said Julie Willard, co-chairman for the historical society’s Gala Committee. The theater troupe, Random Acts, will perform “Law and Murder,” a murder mystery dinner theater presentation.
The fundraiser has always been held at the Smith Berry Winery in New Castle and has attracted 114 individuals in the past. “We hope to grow it to between 154 and 200 people this year,” Willard said.
“Law and Murder” will be presented on May 15 with doors opening at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. with the show to follow. Tickets are $60, excluding the price of wine, and reservations must be made in advance.
Live and silent auctions will be held, and “We have some great items, including a graduated pearl necklace, a one-week trip to New Mexico, and an antique quilt,” said Henry County Historical Society member and Henry County Extension Agent Maryellen Garrison. “I think it will be a wonderful event.”
Theme baskets will also be up for auction and themes include: landscaping, spa, lottery, sweets, mystery and farmers market. The baskets are assembled by the Gala Committee, and a few historical society members, said Willard.
This event is semi-formal and will be held in the big barn at the winery, so attendees may want to wear appropriate shoes, Willard said. The winery “is a nice place to have this event. We want it to be held in Henry County.”
Random Acts is an interactive musical murder troupe based in Ohio. The honorable, yet quirky, Judy Jerry Lawless presides over a musical spoof of NBC’s Law and Order. Audience participation is what makes this musical so appealing.
Random Acts was founded by Lynda Whiting and David Fioritto. “Tony and Tina’s Murder” was recently presented by Random Acts at Gen. Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton. This troupe is proficient in killing people and singing about it.
In the past, the Gala has raised between $8,000 and $15,000, said Gala Committee member Tori Kleinert. Kleinert’s husband, Jim, is president of the Henry County Historical Society. The society has approximately 100 members.
Most of that money went toward purchasing an 1863 house, the Caplinger House, in New Castle. The society uses the house as a museum and genealogical and educational resource center. Funding is needed for general maintenance on the home, programs and upkeep of documents stored at the home.
People come from all over the country to research the society’s documents for clues to their ancestors, said Kleinert. “We’re trying to establish an identity in the county,” she said.
The house was built by James Nelson Caplinger, who was engaged in the pharmacy business. It is one of three houses located in New Castle that Caplinger built for each of his three daughters. The home has had numerous owners over the years, including the United Methodist Church.
Members have collected “living histories from community members,” Kleinert said. Such oral history information has been used to construct a riverboat exhibit with an accompanying video. Students have visited the Caplinger House where members hope to “take old history and pass it on to the new” generation, she said.
Through providing different exhibits and programs, the Henry County Historical Society’s mission has always been to “keep history alive in any possible way,” Kleinert said.

• For more information or to make a reservation for “Law and Murder,” call (502) 845-0999.

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