The Annual Health Foundation Gala never fails to generate significant revenue for Sunrise Health Region.
This year was no exception as St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Community Centre was transformed October 19 into a Paris-themed ballroom. As the event transitioned from the French cuisine-inspired meal to the dance portion of the evening, Diane Rusnak, gala committee chair, presented Sunrise CEO Suann Laurent with a cheque for $43,000, once again surpassing the previous year’s total.
The funds will go toward purchasing cardiac stress test equipment for the Regional Health Centre.
Of course, the primary goal of the gala is to raise funds for a good cause, but there are plenty of spinoff benefits to the local economy as well. With the recent trend toward dressing down even for the likes of Christmas and New Year’s parties, the gala has become the singular event for gentlemen to dust off their tuxedos or Sunday finest and for ladies to bust out their inner glamour.
“There aren’t that many events in Yorkton that give people the opportunity to dress up,” said Tracy Bender, owner of Tracy’s on Broadway. “My customers really look forward to dressing up for a change.”
In the weeks leading up to the gala, particularly the week of, many of the clothing and shoe shops, hairdressers and estheticians, jewellers and , see a significant bump in their business .
Bender said it is difficult to put a dollar value on it, but qualitatively she notices.
“We were hopping all week,” she said. “It definitely generates revenue for my business. On a whole, it’s nice to see the Yorkton ladies support their local stores.”
Mark Smith, owner of K W Menswear, also notices the gala bump.
“It’s important for us because it’s a dressier event,” he said. “The week before is quite good, for sure.”
Smith also finds it difficult to assess the impact monetarily, but, he said, compared to his other busy times such as Christmas and wedding season which are spread out over months, it is a more intense flurry of activity.
“We never have a jump like this in such a short time span,” he said, attributing that to the masculine inclination to leave shopping until the last minute.
As usual, gala attendees had an opportunity to have their photos taken professionally by Mitch Hippsley of Photography by Mitch; buy a raffle ticket to win a diamond necklace and earrings donated by Sherring Gold Jewellers; dine amongst spectacular centrepieces by Stephanie Buckle of All About Flowers and elegant decorations by Kristin Weber-Karcha of Memories to Last a Lifetime; drink wine sponsored by Rusnak Belacko Kachur Rusnak and bid on dozens of silent auction items provided by other local businesses.
When all was said and done Ross Fisher, executive director of the Health Foundation, lauded the event as a huge success.
“Everybody I talked to had fun and by and large, that’s really how you measure it,” he said.