It was an evening of friendship, fundraising, food and fun, courtesy of the Stettler Rotary Club.
The club hosted its 52nd annual Friendship Dinner on Friday, Nov. 7, drawing a crowd of roughly 200 people to the Stettler Community Hall.
President Scott Pfeiffer said the club hosts three major fundraisers each year, but the Friendship Dinner is the largest. The Rotarians also organize the Taste of Stettler wine and appetizer night in the spring, and Farmers’ Night in June.
Attendance for the Friendship Dinner has reached up to 250 people in years past, but Pfeiffer said he was pleased with the turnout and the response.
“It’s a busy time of year, there’s so many things going on,” said Pfeiffer.
Fundraising committee chair Peter Boys said a net total of between $9,000 and $10,000 was raised for both regional and international Rotary projects.
“It’s so worthwhile, the money that we can put back into the community,” said Boys, thanking everyone for their support.
“The Stettler community is incredibly generous.”
The club also collected for ShelterBox, an international program that provides emergency shelter and supplies to families affected by disasters. Enough funds were donated on Friday to purchase one complete kit; the club now has plans to purchase three kits that can be sent where needed.
The dinner featured a roast beef meal prepared by Teresa’s Catering, while around $4,000 in cash prizes was available through the evening’s draws and raffles, not including table bets.
The evening also featured two sets by local country group Domino, featuring guitarists Kent Nixon and Russ Carl, bassist Luanne Carl, drummer Scott McKnight.
The group’s repertoire included original songs like “Drinkin’ with Whitey,” covers from modern artists like Corb Lund and Paul Brandt, and standards like “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Pfeiffer and Boys served as emcees for most of the evening. Coun. Malcolm Fischer brought greetings from the Town of Stettler, while Reeve Wayne Nixon did likewise on behalf of the County of Stettler.
Pfeiffer led the audience in singing “O Canada,” while Pastor Ross Helgeton of Erskine offered the opening prayer. Draws were held throughout the evening, with the final prize winners being named shortly after 10 p.m.
Proceeds from the evening are used to fund Rotary projects in the community.
Boys mentioned a couple of examples during the dinner, such as support for the recently-completed Stettler Skate Park, and the retractable screen installed at the hall.
According to the Rotary International website, the club’s six basic aims are to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, save mothers and children, support education and grow local economies.
One major push has been towards the international eradication of polio. On World Polio Day, Oct. 24, Rotary International and its partners hosted a “global status update,” streamed online, to demonstrate the progress of these efforts.
The first Rotary Club was formed in Chicago in 1905. Today, Rotary International has more than 32,000 clubs worldwide with a total membership of 1.2 million. For more information, visit www.rotary.org.