Heating up a winter night in Weed

By Misa Maruyama for the Mt. Shasta (CA) Herald
February 16, 2011

Off a dusty road near Black Butte Cinder Cone, people dressed in cowboy garb tapped their boots to a bluegrass beat in a restored boxcar.

It was part of the Weed Arts Council's second "Hot Winter Night in Weed" at the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture on Friday.

The council's president, Stephanie Shaver, founded the event last year to liven up Weed's chilly winters.

For the first time, the council chose an Old West theme.

"The art has an Old West look. The bands have an Old West sound. We took the theme and went nuts," said Weed Arts Council vice president Kelly Samuelson.

Musicians squeezed into a wooden boxcar and played country, blues and bluegrass tunes throughout the night. The lineup included the Hop Creek Boys, Gopher Snake, the Cheatin' Hearts and the Coffin Hunter.

In another boxcar, people watched a 1960s film, Once Upon a Time in the West, and viewed Western-inspired art. The paintings and photographs were borrowed from the River Run Gallery in Weed and local artists.

In a barn decorated as a saloon, people sipped drinks and played card games. They watched performances by the Mountain Gypsies belly dance troupe and fire dances by Weed's Pyrate Technics.

Outside, people warmed their hands around a fire in a barrel. They were surrounded by chaparral and even a few rolling tumbleweeds.

"It has that Western ambiance," Shaver said.

Many say they appreciated the unique venue.

"I love the railroad center. It is such a special place; there is no place like it," said Monica Zinda of Weed.

Samuelson said the event is the Weed Arts Council's biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds will fund local art projects, such as the restoration of the totem pole in front of Ray's Food Place in Weed.