Red Zone Affair, set for Sept. 28, to raise funds for Fire Safe Council |

Red Zone Affair, set for Sept. 28, to raise funds for Fire Safe Council

Lorraine Jewett
Special to The Union


What: Red Zone Affair, fundraiser for Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

When: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28

Where: Location revealed to attendees only

Tickets: $75, buy them online at

A wildfire warning is called a Red Alert. Football games intensify in the Red Zone.

A new local fundraiser Sept. 28 will be called the Red Zone Affair.

“We’re going to raise money for fire protection and score points against wildfires,” said John Paye, former San Francisco 49er football player.

The dinner and dance is a benefit for the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County. Tickets are $75 each, and in keeping with the theme, guests are encouraged to wear red attire.

The event begins with appetizers, no-host cocktails and a silent auction. During the catered buffet dinner, there will be a live auction for big ticket items, the silent auction will close, and dessert will be served.

There will be an educational program explaining best practices for fire protection. After that, guests can dance to a live band. A half dozen former 49er football players will be among the VIP guests.

The fundraiser is spearheaded by Paye, who was the 49ers backup quarterback when the team won Super Bowl 23 in 1988 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Before Paye and his teammates earned that year’s Super Bowl ring, they’d held their training camp at Sierra College. It’s not lost on him that Nevada County’s devastating 49er Fire started Sept. 11, just weeks after the team left Rocklin.

“My company, First Down Productions, organizes a lot of fundraisers,” said Paye. “We’ve been helping charitable groups raise money since 1990. This cause is especially important to me in light of what Nevada County has been through with the 49er Fire and other wildfires.”

Paye — who grew up in the Bay Area but spent summers in Nevada County visiting his grandparents, who moved here in the 1930s — is pleased to bring his fundraising skills back to his adopted hometown. The Sept. 28 fundraiser will be held at his father and step-mother’s 40-acre home called the “Preserve at Chalk Bluff” on Banner Mountain.

The location has a pool, cascading waterfall, and sweeping views of Chalk Bluff and the surrounding area. Because it is a private residence, the location is revealed only to those who purchase tickets to the fundraiser.

Inaugural event

“We’re calling this our inaugural event because we hope to do it again in the future,” said Gillian Shenon, a professional event organizer hired to finalize details of the fundraiser. “The venue is exceptionally beautiful and breath-taking with a huge ‘wow’ factor. This event also affords a rare opportunity to meet beloved 49er football players who we’ve previously only watched on television.

“Now we will have the chance to spend quality, personal time with them, and ask those questions we’ve always wanted to ask!”

In addition to tickets, sponsorship packages are available at ascending financial levels with corresponding perks. Sponsors and their guests are invited to a Sept. 27 evening taco bar and a noon Sept. 28 barbecue. They’ll be organized into teams that include at least one celebrity, most a 49er alumni. Those teams will go head-to-head on the afternoon of Sept. 28 in games such as corn hole, table tennis, shuffle board, horseshoes and other friendly competitions.

Between ticket sales and sponsorships, organizers hope to raise $15,000 for the local Fire Protection Council.

“This fundraiser is a community effort,” said Donn Thane, board chairman of the Fire Safe Council. “We’ll use the money for our defensible space advisory programs, creating firewise communities, developing maps with evacuation routes for those firewise communities, our chipping program, and hazardous vegetation reduction projects around the homes of senior citizens who are low-income.”

Fire prevention and protection is important as well as personal to several of the six San Francisco football team alumni who will participate in the Red Zone Affair. Two lost their homes in the 2017 Tubbs Fire that ravaged Santa Rosa.

“Being a part of the 49ers taught me you need talented football players to be a championship-winning team, and you also need good, genuine people who are dependable and work hard,” said Paye. “That’s what we’re doing with the Red Zone Affair — bringing together people who care about their community.”

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She can be reached at

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