Colonel Mustard … in the ballroom … with a candlestick.

For those who are fans of the old board game Clue, there is an event coming up Sept. 26 that can get your mystery-solving skills to the test. It is the third annual Murder Mystery and Auction at Spring Lake Farm. Tickets are $30, and festivities begin at 6 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Portland Chamber of Commerce, features local "actors" in a murder mystery play, written by Rita Taylor of Staying Alive Divas and Relay for Life fame locally. Also, there will be caterers from all over the Portland area -- seven in all -- that will provide food for the event.

"This is the third year for the murder mystery. We started out just trying to do it a couple of times, but the community has rallied around it. It's been a great turnout for that," Portland Chamber of Commerce Director Sherri Ferguson said. "Typically the way it goes is you come in we have a social time, and food will start at 6 p.m. We will have characters within the community. This year, it is based on a Mardi Gras masquerade ball. You can come dressed. The more participation we have, the more fun it is for each participant. You don't have to dress up, but it adds to your experience."

As for the play, it will be improvisation, but there was a rehearsal last Wednesday. The play will also reveal connections and clues about who committed the murder. Groups of eight will sit at tables and each table will play as a team to try and solve the murder mystery. The actors in the cast features all local performers, including Portland Mayor Mike Callis.

"Our cast is made up of local community members and business owners. It's not just people coming in that we've hired. Mayor Callis will play the Governor of Louisiana this year's play," chamber assistant Kristen Daughtry said. "It's fun to see local people that you know."

Others who are in the cast include Bob Moon, Nathan Shadowens, Michele Harbin, Chuck Lyons, Jackie Wilber, Chad Wilson, Deidra Hall, Megan Thompson, Clark Shifflett and Tim Baker.

"We really have some talent here. It's amazing how much talent we have found just on a whim. It's all improv. So there's no script to follow," Ferguson said. "Everybody has their character and how they're related in those situations. But nobody knows the murderer. Nobody really has any inkling, so you can't ask who did it, because they don't know.

"Listening and paying attention to the characters in the cast and what they say is key to figuring out the clue. Each table is a team, and each table will figure out who they think the murderer was. The real way that you win is the most detailed motive and why they did it. So each table will pick a character they feel was the murderer and outline why and any details they get. If you have someone at your table that is really creative with writing, then that would be the person to come up with your final script."

Daughtry also added that all sorts of clues will be available and that it is important for the groups to be as detailed as possible.

"Each table will have a sheet and work together to figure out how the victim was killed and what the motive was. They have to pay attention throughout the night. It's basically like playing Clue. There will be clues hidden around the room. There will be things that the characters say to each other and relationships that you have to figure out. So all of that will help you to figure out," Daughtry said.

As for the food, Daughtry said it will be a variety with so many options coming from Portland.

"We have lots of caterers. It's kind of like a taste of Portland. You get to try out all the different caterers and restaurants within our community," Daughtry said.

Caterers include Big Al's Catering, El Azteca, Southern Events Caterers, Brickyard Cafe, Top of the Ridge Catering, Delaney Street Eats/Catering, The Barbeque Pit and Brewster's Bar and Grille.

Businesses that want to reserve a table can do so, and smaller groups and individuals will also be put together to fill other tables.

"We want to promote our community and businesses working together. It's a fun night. Lots of great food and comedy. The table centerpieces will be auctioned off as well," Ferguson said.

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