Janelle Best, Katie Doyen, Brandon Gentile and Aaron Bedor announce the murderer. Photos by Jessica Steeley
BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Rain slashed through the night on a fateful evening in 1857, when a mystery murder took place at the Cherry Creek Saloon.
In the aftermath of a bar brawl broken up by saloon owner Honest Abe Flores, the dead body of Jeb Lyman was found.
After Abe and Saloon Girl Hattie dragged Jeb’s body to the parlor, patrons got down to solving the crime and discovering the culprit.
Cowboys, saloon girls and passing travelers banded together to question the usual suspects, trying to piece together who was around the card table, the infamous murder scene, when the fight broke out.
Accusations flew and questions fired throughout dinner and drinks until the decisive moment when the murderer was found out to be—Honest Abe Flores.
“I wanted to get the gold,” Flores exclaimed after confessing, claiming Cherry Creek Saloon would go under without it.
“That’s why Abe killed him, to save the bar,” explained Al Bartlett, who played Honest Abe, after the reveal to attendees of the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Murder Mystery Dinner, hosted by the chamber’s Young Professionals Network.
“We hope everybody had a good time,” Bartlett added. He was one of several Clarkston Village Players to act out characters/suspects at the event. Several chamber members volunteered for acting parts as well.
“The event is a good opportunity to network. We have a lot of members of the chamber attend and they use it as a team building or they invite their clients to come out for an evening of fun. It involves a little bit of drinking, but also a murder mystery show and a full dinner,” said Janelle Best, executive director of the chamber. “Some people really get into it, it’s a lot of fun.”
Best said this is their third annual murder mystery event, the second one held at Pine Knob Mansion, and it was sold out with 100 tickets bought.
“The night was great. We were here last year and had a lot of fun, so we decided to come again this year,” attendee Dennis Rachel said of the old west themed event.
Rachel and his wife Jenifer went all-out for the event, dressed as an old-time barber and a cowgirl.
“I’m hoping everybody really enjoys it and they want to come for the fourth annual because we’re looking forward to it. We’ll be back at Pine Knob next year. The mansion’s a perfect place for it,” Best said. “It feels like you’re in a game of Clue when you’re here. It’s just a lot of fun, a great atmosphere for the event.”
Attendee Kelly Quisenberry said the mansion was beautiful and looked like the old west.
“It’s awesome, I’m super excited, I’m confused as to who did it, but it’s fun,” Quisenberry said before the murderer was announced.
Best said these events bring more diversity to the chamber.
“It’s just really nice to see the different members that this event draws, we really get a huge diverse group of members,” she added. “These kind of themed events tend to draw a grander crowd.”