‘Caddyshack’ event wows the crowd to benefit kidscommons

Carla Clark | For The Republic Tyler Purtlebaugh, holding a putter, celebrates winning the putting contest during kidscommons Carnivale Caddy Shack at the Commons, Columbus, Ind., Friday, February 9, 2024.

A crowd of about 300 people easily got into the swing of things at the kidscommons children’s museum fundraiser Carnivale: Caddyshack held Friday at The Commons in downtown Columbus.

A gross total of $107,000 was raised — just beyond leaders’ goal of topping last year’s six-figure mark, according to Whitney Hartwell, executive director of the venue at 309 Washington St.

“This was due to a combination of the hard work of our staff and the generosity of our participants and sponsors,” Hartwell said. “I’m always a little shocked at the sheer extent of generosity that this community has. But, actually, I’m never really all that surprised because Columbus is such a close-knit community, and people here support each other.”

She loved the fact that most attendees honored the humorous event theme linked to the 1980 cult comedy golf-oriented film “Caddyshack” starring Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield. Hartwell herself stuck with basic golf apparel.

“But we had quite a few dressed as gophers,” Hartwell said, referring to the movie’s meddlesome and funny gopher.

Plus, Brittany Snowden, kidscommons’ operations manager, dressed in googly eyes as stand-up comedian-turned-actor Dangerfield.

An auction also was a part of the evening.

A human whack-a-mole game was fairly popular among activities, plus miniature golf and a putting contest. Hartwell mentioned that organizers already have a few ideas about next year’s fundraiser.

The museum is a hub for families of youngsters throughout south central Indiana. It attracted more than 50,000 visitors last year.

With increased popularity comes added plans for activities. Hartwell mentioned that museum staff hopes to have a new farmers market exhibit in place possibly by the end of the year. A campaign to fund that is expected to be announced soon.