It wasn't your typical backyard bash. On the contrary. For one thing, each guest paid from $1,000 to $5,000 to attend. Saskatchewan's premier Brad Wall emceed the fundraising event. And Blue Rodeo singer/guitarist Jim Cuddy performed for the crowd of about 125 at the Hope's Home Howl. It wasn't traditional backyard fare on the menu either. Gold Medal Plates-winning chef Milton Rebello of the Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza created a delectable array of impressive appetizers, finger foods and mini desserts for the event. Each break in the evening's entertainment featured a unique menu offering - from melon, feta and mint skewers to mini Dungeness crab cakes accompanied with tangy mango jalapeno salsa and baby greens, to mini tiramisu in brandy snap cups, dusted in cocoa.
The majority of the approximately $125,000 raised will go to Hope's Home, Canada's first medically integrated early learning centre, which provides daytime and extended respite services - along with fun and educational programs - to medically fragile children, their siblings and typically healthy children from the community. Proceeds from the Hope's Home Howl event will kick off a capital campaign for a new, larger building, announced Jacqueline Tisher, founder and executive director of Hope's Home.
A small portion of the evening's proceeds will go to the Dog River Howlers rugby club, to help support a variety of charities. "This is a first for Regina," event host Karl Fix (a member of the Dog River Howlers) said in an interview before the event. "A few years ago, this type of thing would have been unheard of in this city," he said. "These are the kinds of events that they have in major centres like Toronto,
Montreal and Vancouver ... That tells you something about where Regina has gone to." "This is the new Saskatchewan!" the premier declared as bids escalated as he auctioned off a guitar autographed by Cuddy. Tim Schaefer of Varsity Homes had the winning bid of $26,000. Fix was quick to point out that while he got the ball rolling, and he and his wife, Sandy Beug, offered to host the fundraiser at their Wascana View home, the event was a team effort. "It's a really good team!" he said. In addition to Fix and Beug, the organizing committee included Brad DeLorey of Mosaic, Tim Schaefer of Varsity Homes, Denis Jones of Deveraux Developments, Kevin Tell of Cindercrete, Marla Preston of the Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza, and Hope's Home representatives Stephanie Kohlruss, Renae Hunter, Joe Moffat and Jacqueline Tisher.
Mosaic was the major sponsor of the event, kicking in $30,000. "Brad (DeLorey) always steps up to the plate," Fix said. "Mosaic's generosity to the community is amazing!" Cuddy agreed to perform at the event "for a substantial reduction in his fee," Fix pointed out, adding that the entertainer also donated $10,000 "because he feels it's such a worthwhile cause." "Part of my fee goes back to the charity. It's easy to do," Cuddy said humbly in an interview prior to performing. "We came specifically for this."
Cuddy is no stranger to giving back to charity events. He does a literacy event every year in Edmonton. Fix credited Jones for steering the organizing committee in the direction of Hope's Home, a charity the premier was eager to support. "I spearheaded it," Fix said. "I got a group of friends of mine together - community-minded people ... These are all people who are happy to give a good donation to a good cause." "Saskatchewan has a history of going above and beyond the call of duty," he said proudly. "We may not have the population of Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary, but we are doing things that were just unheard of not too long ago."
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