Fundraiser Scheduled to Save the Vurpillat in Winamac

A fundraiser is scheduled for this weekend to help save the historic Vurpillat Opera House in downtown Winamac. Artist Local 3033 is hosting an art show Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET followed by a concert from 6 to 11 p.m. with a $2 admission. All proceeds go toward the opera house restoration.

Bob B. Welder, the man heading up the fundraiser, said he has no idea what to expect when it comes to the art show. There is no charge for artists to show case their items, but he said they would like to see at least a one percent donation from any sales. There is no limit to how big the pieces can be, and Welder said there’s absolutely no telling what kind of art these artists will showcase.

The concert features a number of local bands, and Welder said the building will be filled with performances for hours.

“In the evening, we’re going to have the concert. We have six or seven bands coming to play. We have open mic spots available. We’re just gonna jam-pack the room full of six hours of music,” said Welder.

Welder said the fundraiser began to help rehabilitate the Vurpillat, beginning with the downstairs to allow the space to be rented out to generate more revenue for the building. The Vurpillat is currently owned by the Historical Society but its vacancy over the past several years have caused the building to become nearly dilapidated. In an effort to restore the building, Welder is hoping to repair the building one story at a time. With three stories that are in desperate need of work, the estimate on repairing the entire structure comes out to around $1 million.

Despite the price tag, Welder said it’s a worthy endeavor.

“It’s got a rich heritage. They used to have plays and operas and things like that in there, back before there was a movie theater, when Main Street was the street in Winamac. It looks really good on the outside, and I think if we got it fixed on the inside then we could pull a lot of big-name acts through. Besides that, it gives the younger kids in the community a place to perform. I mean, we have a lot of great musicians in Winamac and the surrounding communities and they don’t really have a place to put on shows and show their music to the community,” said Welder.

Do your part to save the historic Vurpillat Opera House in Winamac by attending the art show and concert, or by donating what you can to keep this building a part of the community for years to come.