FOSSIL - Early 1900s. A body is discovered at the public fossil digging beds in Fossil, and before law enforcement can get there, it disappears! The only evidence that remains is a scrap of bloody cloth. -

Someone was murdered, but who? And where is the body?

Everyone is invited to help the sheriff and good citizens of Fossil solve this (fictitious) mystery!

In the face of a severe city budget crisis, volunteers and businesses of Fossil have rallied to raise funds to re-open the community's recently-closed public library, to help a child in need of medical care, and to raise funds for maintenance of city parks and other community improvement projects.

A community-wide Murder Mystery Weekend organized by the Friends of the Fossil Library is set for Oct. 3 and 4 at Fossil. Visitors and residents may participate as a mystery solver by registering at the Fossil Public Library either day. The $3 registration fee will be used to help save the library and will enter mystery solvers in a drawing to win prizes.

Baskets of clues will be placed at all Fossil businesses, and about 50 residents and business people will be dressed as costumed characters in the community's downtown. Of these, 28 have signed up as "suspects" in the crime. Visitors will be able to ask the suspects questions about the murder as they try to figure out who done it.

Activities are planned throughout the community, including a quilt show and sale at the historic Fossil Mercantile and open houses at several businesses. Guided tours of the 1901 Wheeler County Courthouse will be led by a costumed saloon girl and old-time sheriff.

The Fossil Museum, Pine Creek One-Room School House Museum and Asher Car Museum will be open and young people in early 1900s costumes will be playing croquet in the park. Several Fossil businesses are "stepping back in time" for the weekend, including such transformations to an old-time livery, undertaker's parlor, saloon and boarding house. A dozen vintage automobile clubs have been invited to town for the weekend.

Proceeds from a silent auction, the Fossil Museum's annual rummage sale and a Saturday afternoon English tea at the museum will benefit a local child who has cancer.

The Fossil Community Action Group will host an old-fashioned stew and biscuit dinner Oct. 4 at the Wheeler County Fairgrounds in Fossil at $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.-----

Local actors will give a free mini-drama performance after the dinner to depict the vile deed and identify the murderer. -

"As far as we know, this is the only murder mystery happening in Oregon that has been organized as a community-wide event," said event coordinator Lyn Craig. "This started as a little idea to raise funds for important causes and it's just grown bigger and bigger to where nearly all of Fossil's organizations and businesses are involved."

Contact Craig at (541) 763-2355 or e-mail fossilinn@centurytel.net for further information or a free schedule of events.

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