Whitehorse might be the site of the northernmost East Coast kitchen party in Canada this summer.
On Friday, May 26, the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre will serve as the venue for a Rotary Club dinner featuring fresh Prince Edward Island lobster and Celtic tunes, courtesy of Keitha Clark and the Sláinte North band.
The event has been one of the biggest fundraisers for the Whitehorse Rotary Rendezvous Club, but it’s been on a two-year hiatus. Rotarian Reba Parris says the event requires a lot volunteer effort and, with just 27 members, the club was stretched too thin to put it together in recent years.
This year however, Parris, who joined the Club two years ago, stepped up and said she’d assume the role of Head of the Lobster Kitchen Party Committee for the 21st annual event.
It’s an important fundraiser for the Club, she says, and one that has always sold out in the past. Without it, the Club still has two major annual fundraisers (including the Wine Festival and Artshare), but members really wanted to be able to bring back the dinner and contribute even more to the organizations and causes they support.
“We’re big on clean water and child and maternal health. Literacy is a big pillar for us,” says Parris.
One of the organizations the Club supports is ShelterBox, a Canadian international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter and aid to those affected by disaster worldwide. In the past, the club assisted with shelters in Nepal after the earthquakes there in 2015.
“Even though we’re an international organization, we wanted to make sure that most of the proceeds from this are staying in our community,” she says.
For that reason, many of the funds raised by the dinner will go to the Dictionary Project, which provides dictionaries in Yukon classrooms, and the Yukon Imagination Library, which provides free books to all Yukon children up to the age of five.
The Club also regularly supports a number of scholarships for Yukon College students in the medical field, and in the food and beverage program.
Parris says this year’s event will be a return to form, with a few small changes.
“This is different because there will be music and an open jam,” she says. “That’s where the party comes in.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring instruments. After the band plays a few sets, they’ll welcome audience members to come up and have some fun.
Additionally, there will be a silent auction featuring items including gift cards for massages, a Fountain Tire gift card for $250, and more. Parris says the Club usually expects the auction to generate around $3,000 to $5,000, and they tend to make it because of the number of local businesses that are eager to contribute great items.
“The community of Whitehorse is so receptive, and they’re so willing, and they’re so giving,” she says. “For us, it’s a fundraiser, and that’s something that can’t be ignored. But it’s a fun party as well. I really want it to be a relaxed, fun environment, and raise some money on the side, that’s great too.”
The 21st Lobster Dinner and Kitchen Party takes place on Friday, May 26 at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre. It begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.
Tickets are $60 each and can be purchased at the front desk at the Yukon Inn. Capacity is 260. For more information check out the Rendezvous Rotary Club website or you can find them on Facebook.