For the third year in a row the Robbie Burns Night hosted as a fundraiser by the Bentley Care Centre Auxiliary, in collaboration with Bentley Care Centre staff, was deemed a success.
Despite chilling cold weather on Saturday, January 24 and a decrease in attendance, just over 100 attended at the Blindman Valley Ag Centre, there was lots of food, fun, and fellowship.
The evening started off with cocktails, followed by a full-catered buffet style supper including the traditional haggis and roast beef, turnips and potatoes. There were the conventional ceremonies and toasts, and then some dancing. Last year the cold weather had held off until the day after the supper.
Attendance was down and bidding was a bit slower but “it was worth it! Raising anything over $2,500 in one-evening is worth it,” said Ena Boot, one of the organizers and a member of the Auxiliary. “But it was a lot of work.”
The 116 items donated by generous donors this year for the silent auction that took place throughout the evening brought in nearly $2,500. After all expenses including hall rent, the caterer, bar supplies, etc. were paid, a grand total of just over $2,548 profit was made. That is down from the $2,900 raised last year.
Ticket sales were very slow at first, but the supporters came through.
“People don’t seem to realize they need to buy their tickets early. We need to give a count to the caterer ahead of time,” said Doris Bargholz, another member of the Auxiliary and event organizer. “That makes it difficult (to estimate the number of plates to order). We were actually wondering whether to cancel the event, but (ticket) sales picked up at the last minute and we decided to go ahead.”
Funds raised will go towards the comfort of residents of the Bentley Care Centre.
MC for the evening was Tim Day and the pre-dinner music and entertainment was provided by Michael and Marion McLetchie from Sylvan Lake.
The haggis was piped in with the usual pomp and pageantry lead by piper Michael McLetchie who also gave the address to the haggis. The sword was paraded in by Bill Lapierre, the whiskey by Gordon Skeels, and the haggis by John Ree.
Sharon Newton offered the Toast to the Queen while Jesse Bargholz gave the Toast to the Lassies, with the reply by Kathy Bargholz. Cora Knutson, who did a lot of research, gave the Toast to the Twa Lands, and Tom Turnbull (“Thomas Hector Turnbull, and I am a Scotsman”) offered the Immortal Memory of Robbie Burns.
Highland dance students from the Arlene Bain School of Dance of Red Deer, outfitted in full colorful regalia, and who came from as far away as Stettler and Ponoka and were driven to the event by parents, performed many selections on stage. A 15-year old young man from Scotland masterfully played some bagpipe solos.
The winner of the door prize basket donated by the Murray family was Doris Leach.
The evening wound up with some fun and fast stepping on the dance floor led by Michael and Marion McLetchie.
As some people gathered up their auction items and headed for home, some others stayed behind to stack tables and chairs and clean up to bring to an end another successful Burns’ evening in Bentley.