Optimist Fall Gala brings wishes to life in Prince Albert and area

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald An attendee checks out items in the Silent Auction before the Prince Albert Optimist Fall Gala on Saturday night at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre.

Gala fundraises to grant wishes for 18 kids in Prince Albert and surrounding area­

Roughly 240 people came out to support the annual Prince Albert Optimist Club Fall Gala on Saturday, and organizers were grateful to see a good size crowd return.

This year’s gala raised fund for the Prince Albert chapter of Make A Wish Canada. Outgoing Optimist Club President Les Cragg said this is the first gala with all the bells and whistles since COVID-19 began.

“COVID kind of knocked us down for a few years but we are back up and going and we hope to make this Gala a roaring success,” Cragg said.

Cragg said Optimist Club motto “Friends for Youth” goes well with Make A Wish Canada, so supporting the organization was a natural fit.

“We do everything that we possibly can for kids, from newborns to 18-years-old,” he explained. “It could be for medical travel. It could be for medical devices. It could be money going towards purchasing a van or whatever, and this year our Gala coincides with Make A Wish Canada and all of the proceeds from this are going strictly to Make a Wish Canada Prince Albert and surrounding area.”

Cragg said there are 18 kids in Prince Albert waiting to have their wishes fulfilled, and another seven in the surrounding communities. They’re hoping funds raised on Saturday can help grant a few of those requests.

“We want to get as much out to these kids as we possibly can,” Cragg said. “We do have one little guy here that got his wish granted in June and we have got another one that will have his wish granted as soon as all of the last little bit of paperwork gets into place.”

Representatives from Make a Wish Canada were present, including Allyson Toye of Make a Wish Saskatchewan. The evening opened with cocktails before a VIP Table Auction by Schmalz Auctioneers.

Attendees had the option to bid on a VIP table, which came with extra services, bottles of wine, and other more perks.

Attendees could also bid on a silent auction thanks to prizes donated from Prince Albert businesses.

“(We) have got a really fantastic donation that comes from Heatsmart Plus and it’s a great big barbecue that is in the silent auction. I really want to throw a positive out to those guys because they came through, that was really awesome for them to do,” Cragg said.

“We also have, it’s a food box takeout raffle is what we are calling it. They are just little food boxes, we have five Yeti pieces that we are going to be drawing for as well as other prizes in the box as well.”

The final fundraising total was unavailable by deadline. Cragg was happy to see so many people in attendance.

“I hope everybody has a really good time and opens their wallet for this fantastic project,” Cragg said.