Sparks and Shortcake: A Weld and Dine

Brian and Jill Lulay showing their sunflowers.

On Thursday the Welding and Culinary Arts co-curricular clubs came together to host their first ever “Weld and Dine” event.

The Weld and Dine event was a play on Paint and Wine events that have become so popular in recent years. Participants enjoyed a dinner prepared and served by the Culinary Arts Club, and were then instructed by the Welding Club’s students on how to weld a sunflower yard ornament. 

The idea for the event came from both clubs’ advisors, Josh Green from the culinary department, and Marc Rose and Cameren Moran from the welding department. 

“We were brainstorming ways we could get our club more involved with the community,” Rose said. “Since COVID has affected our programs so much, we really wanted to get the word out about our programs and give people a way to get out.”

“Josh’s [Green] co-curricular does stuff with the community all the time so we brought him in to get ideas, and this is what we came up with,” Moran said. 

The event had two time slots available, 5 and 6 p.m., with ten spaces available in each. Tickets cost $75 each and included dinner, desert, two alcoholic beverages (served after welding,) and all materials and safety equipment needed to make a yard ornament. 

“We sold out in less than a day,” Green, who was in charge of tickets, said. 

Kimbery Cebbell and Nolan Ramirez, both second-year culinary art students, and George Krohm, a first-year culinary arts student stayed late after class to serve the dinner. The dinner, which consisted of pulled pork sandwiches, mac and cheese and cornbread, along with strawberry shortcake for dessert, was prepared after classes by them and the rest of the culinary arts club. 

“The dinner was amazing,” said Jill Lulay who came with her husband Brian Lulay. Lulay is the mother of Zach Charley, one of the welding students whose tragic passings in the last couple of years prompted the creation of the Welding Comradery Scholarship in their honor. 

After participants enjoyed their dinner in the courtyard, they were given personal protection equipment including welding helmets, welding jackets, safety glasses and welding gloves. Colton Cronkhite, a second-year pipe-welding student, then gave them a safety briefing and instrctions. 

“It was a lot of fun helping and watching people do this for the first time,” Cronkhite later said.

When all the participants were ready, they were given their metal pieces and assigned a welding student to guide and assist them throughout the process of constructing their ornaments. 

Six welding students participated in the event: Gavyn Hillsman, Ben Barnes, Bryan Vargas, Colton Cronkhite, Ava Edwards and Conner BIshop. Each student took on one or two participants to assist.

“It’s so nicely done,” said Rhonda Hankins, one of the participants. “We each get our own student so we have a lot of personal attention and all the help we want.”

“I wanted to help with this because it sounded like a lot of fun, and I wanted to show the community what we do here,” said Conner Bishop, a second-year pipe-welding student.

Once all the participants had completed welding, they were happy to show off what they had made while enjoying their desert and drinks. 

“My favorite part was doing the freehand design in the middle,” said Cindy Moran, showing me the designs in her sunflower. “This is definitely a skill that takes a lot of practice. It was a little scary but it was a lot of fun for me.”

“The best part was being able to interact with the students and see the skills they have,” said Kevin Moran.

Of the ten participants in the 5 p.m. slot, only two had ever welded before. 

“I’ve never welded before but this sounded fun and I enjoy supporting LBCC,” said David Bennett. “I thought it was a lot of fun and I’m definitely going to do this again.”

“The overwhelming response seems to be that people had a lot of fun and  are interested in doing this again,” Rose said at the end of the night. “So, we will definitely be doing more of these types of things in the future.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Welding and Culinary Arts programs and upcoming events, you can find information on their Facebook pages under LBCC Welding Program, and Linn-Benton Culinary Arts.

Photos by Brenda Autry.

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