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BUENA PARK : Merle Haggard Joins Fund-Raiser Concert

Folks in this city are banking on country star Merle Haggard to draw a sellout crowd at a May 12 fund-raising performance to help fulfill their vision of building a community cultural arts center.

Lois Nemcik,a volunteer for the Buena Park Cultural Arts Foundation, which is sponsoring the concert with the support of the city’s Fine Arts Commission, said tickets are available. Sponsors are also needed to make the fund-raising event a success, she said.

Haggard, who will appear with his band “The Strangers,” will perform two, 45-minute sets beginning at 8 p.m. at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Good Time Theatre.

Tickets range from $20 to $35 and all proceeds go to the foundation’s building fund.

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This will be the third year that the foundation, formed in 1987 for the purpose of raising money for the cultural arts project, has put on a celebrity concert.

The foundation has raised about $35,000, a result of the success of the first-year concert in which entertainer Victor Borgeplayed to a sellout audience.

Last year, the foundation broke even after a concert by singer Mitzi Gaynor.

“We’re hoping to go back to our first success and have a sellout event,” said foundation chair Bea Botelho.

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But Nemcik also said that it has been tough for the foundation to find sponsors.

“It’s not easy these days,” she said. “There’s not a whole lot of donation money out there.”

City officials said they have no current plans to build a cultural arts center. A proposal to build a center on the campus of Buena Park Junior High School fell through last year because the estimated cost for a building that would meet the needs of both the city and the school district was more than the city could afford.

“We still have the vision of having a cultural arts facility in Buena Park, but where and when is yet to be determined,” said Mayor Donald L. Bone.

Wes Morgan,director of Recreation, Parks and Community Services, said that a cultural arts center at City Hall site could be built whenever the Civic Center is revamped.

Tickets for the Haggard concert are priced at $20, $25, $30 and $35. There are also a limited number of $100 patron tickets, which includes a reception with Haggard and his band after the performance.

Tickets can be purchased at Buena Park Recreation Center, 8150 Knott Ave., or by calling (714) 562-3844.Tickets are also available by calling Knott’s Berry Farm, (714) 220-5249.


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