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Creative fundraising at its best (2 photos)

In this week's 'Distracted Dining', Nancy is distracted by a fabulous fundraiser
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Picture​ ​this.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​beautiful,​ ​crisp,​ ​clear​ ​winter’s​ ​eve. The​ ​drive​ ​to​ ​Elora​ ​is​ ​enjoyed​ ​with friends.​ You​ ​arrive​ ​at​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​old​ ​church​ ​building​ ​that​ ​has​ ​been​ ​fantastically renovated​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​a​ ​family​ ​home​ ​and​ ​business. The​ ​soft​ ​white​ ​lights​ ​flicker​ ​in the​ ​towering​ ​windows​ ​as​ ​you​ ​meander​ ​to​ ​the​ ​back​ ​door. There​ ​you​ ​are​ ​greeted​ ​with​ ​the pleasant​ ​sound​ ​of​ ​muted​ ​mingled​ ​talk​ ​and​ ​laughter;​ ​a​ ​live​ ​cellist​ ​and​ ​warm,​ ​comforting air. You​ ​hang​ ​up​ ​your​ ​coat;​ ​make​ ​your​ ​way​ ​up​ ​a​ ​short​ ​flight​ ​of​ ​massive​ ​stairs​ ​and​ ​see the​ ​living​ ​space​ ​transformed​ ​into​ ​a​ ​welcoming,​ ​classy​ ​dining​ ​area,​ ​abuzz​ ​with​ ​pre-dinner activities. You’re​ ​greeted​ ​with​ ​endless​ ​hellos​ ​and​ ​hugs​ ​and​ ​a​ ​glass​ ​of​ ​red​ ​wine​ ​finds​ ​its way​ ​into​ ​your​ ​hand. There’s​ ​nothing​ ​to​ ​do​ ​but​ ​take​ ​it​ ​all​ ​in,​ ​relax​ ​and​ ​enjoy.

Where​ ​are​ ​you? Where​ ​was​ ​I? I​ ​was​ ​attending​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​creative,​ ​enjoyable fundraisers​ ​I’ve​ ​ever​ ​been​ ​to​ ​-​ ​and​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​to​ ​plenty! This​ ​was​ ​the​ ​epitome​ ​of fundraisers. Dining​ ​out​ ​and​ ​completely​ ​forgetting​ ​you​ ​were​ ​there​ ​for​ ​anything​ ​but​ ​a wonderful​ ​evening​ ​of​ ​food,​ ​fellowship​ ​and​ ​fun​ ​-​ ​my​ ​favourite​ ​‘F’​ ​words.

Shout​ ​out​ ​to​ ​Team​ ​Kortright,​ ​a​ ​group​ ​of​ ​friends​ ​from​ ​Kortright​ ​Presbyterian​ ​Church​ ​in Guelph,​ ​Ont.​ In​ ​2017,​ ​they​ ​are​ ​a​ ​team​ ​of​ ​nine​ ​people​ ​who​ ​raised​ ​money​ ​for​ ​a​ ​whole year​ ​and​ ​then​ ​participated​ ​in​ ​a​ ​gruelling​ ​212 km​ ​ride​ ​from​ ​Toronto​ ​to​ ​Hamilton​ ​in​ ​one​ ​day and​ ​Hamilton​ ​to​ ​Niagara​ ​Falls​ ​the​ ​next. All​ ​money​ ​raised​ ​goes​ ​to​ ​cancer​ ​research​ ​at Princess​ ​Margaret​ ​Hospital. This​ ​team​ ​raised​ ​over​ ​$22,000​ ​this​ ​year​ ​and​ ​have​ ​been going​ ​strong​ ​for​ ​over​ ​10​ ​years. Check​ ​them​ ​out​ here​​ ​and​ ​search for​ ​Team​ ​Kortright​ ​on ​Facebook​ ​Team-Kortright-Ride-to-Conquer-Cancer. 

They​ ​are​ ​also​ ​a​ ​team​ ​that​ ​knows​ ​how​ ​to​ ​fundraise. This​ ​wonderful​ ​evening​ ​out​ ​was​ ​all about​ ​fundraising​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Ride​ ​to​ ​Conquer​ ​Cancer,​ ​and​ ​yet,​ ​it​ ​felt​ ​like​ ​it​ ​was​ ​all​ ​about enjoying​ ​an​ ​awesome​ ​evening​ ​out​ ​with​ ​exquisite​ ​food​ ​and​ ​drink.

The​ ​menu. We​ ​started​ ​off​ ​with​ ​the​ ​lovely​ ​wine​ ​and​ ​moved​ ​to​ ​Nona’s​ ​lasagna. Yup​ ​-​ ​it was​ ​that​ ​good. For​ ​real. Homemade​ ​lasagna​ ​with​ ​layer​ ​upon​ ​layer​ ​of​ ​finely​ ​crafted noodles​ ​with​ ​a​ ​delicious​ ​tomato​ ​sauce. I​ ​imagine​ ​it​ ​was​ ​all​ ​made​ ​with​ ​much​ ​love​ ​and​ ​lots of​ ​home-grown​ ​stuff.

Next​ ​we​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lovely,​ ​fresh​ ​green​ ​salad​ ​with​ ​pumpkin​ ​seeds​ ​and​ ​dried​ ​cranberries​ ​on​ ​the table​ ​to​ ​dress​ ​to​ ​your​ ​liking. My​ ​friend​ ​Jane​ ​would​ ​have​ ​been​ ​all​ ​set​ ​for​ ​the​ ​night​ ​if​ ​they had​ ​placed​ ​a​ ​big​ ​bowl​ ​of​ ​that​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​her. As​ ​it​ ​was,​ ​this​ ​was​ ​just​ ​a​ ​teaser​ ​before​ ​the main​ ​event.

Roast​ ​beef​ ​-​ ​cooked​ ​medium​ ​to​ ​perfection,​ ​served​ ​with​ ​rolls,​ ​sour​ ​cream/cream​ ​cheese and​ ​garlic​ ​infused​ ​mashed​ ​potatoes;​ ​carrots;​ ​beets;​ ​green​ ​beans​ ​and​ ​gravy. ​I​ ​may​ ​have missed​ ​something.​ It​ ​was​ ​delicious​ ​-​ ​served​ ​hot.

Dessert​ ​was​ ​a​ ​piece​ ​of​ ​coconut​ ​cream​ ​or​ ​apple​ ​pie​ ​baked​ ​by​ ​our​ ​friend​ ​Denise​ ​the​ ​pie baker​ ​who​ ​also​ ​EMCeed​ ​the​ ​event. I​ ​had​ ​apple​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​exquisite. I​ ​secretly​ ​wanted more​ ​because​ ​you​ ​can​ ​never​ ​have​ ​too​ ​much​ ​of​ ​a​ ​good​ ​thing,​ ​right?

There​ ​was​ ​also​ ​assorted​ ​fresh​ ​fruit​ ​and​ ​clementines​ ​with​ ​plenty​ ​of​ ​coffee​ ​and​ ​tea​ ​to round​ ​out​ ​the​ ​evening. Interspersed​ ​between​ ​courses​ ​was​ ​a​ ​dessert​ ​auction​ ​where delicious​ ​home-baked​ ​creations​ ​were​ ​auctioned​ ​off​ ​as​ ​over-inflated​ ​prices. It​ ​was​ ​a fundraiser​ ​after​ ​all.

The​ ​night​ ​ended​ ​too​ ​soon​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can​ ​only​ ​say​ ​how​ ​blessed​ ​we​ ​were​ ​to​ ​attend. This​ ​team knows​ ​how​ ​to​ ​creatively​ ​fundraise. Fundraisers​ ​-​ ​Country​ ​Dances,​ ​quilt​ ​tickets,​ ​delicious pies​ ​and​ ​tart​ ​sales,​ ​poinsettias​ ​and​ ​art​ ​sales​ ​-​ ​well​ ​-​ ​they​ ​do​ ​all​ ​that​ ​too!​ This​ ​event​ ​was outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​box​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​the​ ​usual,​ ​sometimes​ ​all​ ​too​ ​familiar​ ​fundraiser.

I’ve​ ​been​ ​to​ ​those​ ​huge​ ​fundraisers​ ​with​ ​tickets​ ​selling​ ​at​ ​$150​ ​per​ ​person​ ​or​ ​more.​ The venue​ ​is​ ​typically​ ​the​ ​local​ ​hotel,​ ​serving​ ​typical​ ​hotel​ ​food. While​ ​these​ ​can​ ​be​ ​nice evenings​ ​out,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​no​ ​masking​ ​the​ ​fundraiser​ ​feel. I​ ​much​ ​prefer​ ​the​ ​Team​ ​Kortright approach. Reasonably​ ​priced​ ​tickets​ ​and​ ​an​ ​evening​ ​of​ ​fine​ ​dining​ ​coupled​ ​with​ ​a fantastic​ ​atmosphere​ ​that​ ​would​ ​be​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​beat.

Kudos​ ​to​ ​Team​ ​Kortright​ ​and​ ​thank​ ​you​ ​for​ ​masking​ ​a​ ​fundraiser​ ​as​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​evening. I​ ​was​ ​distracted​ ​by​ ​the​ ​beauty​ ​of​ ​it​ ​all. All​ ​for​ ​a​ ​great​ ​cause. Well​ ​done.

Nancy​ ​Revie​ ​is​ ​a​ ​Guelph​ ​author,​ ​motivational​ ​speaker,​ ​fitness​ ​instructor​ ​and​ ​entertainer. Visit​ ​Nancy​ ​at​​ ​www.nancyrevie.com​.​ ​​ ​Her​ ​column​ ​appears​ ​every​ ​other​ ​week.