Rotary club hosts at-home wine event to fundraise for Centennial Project

The Centennial Project will feature a “high-intensity” play structure at Little Red River Park

Tracy Feher participated in the event at home with close friends in her bubble. (Submitted photo/Tracy Feher)

The Prince Albert Rotary club hosted their annual Wine Premier event this past weekend to raise money for their centennial project at Little Red River Park.

The club has been putting the event on for 13 years now and has raised over $220,000 to put towards projects within the community, said club president Keith Fonstad.

Fonstad said the club initially thought they would have to postpone the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but after some brainstorming they decided they could offer an at-home experience instead.

There were just under 300 couples that participated in the event. Included with the ticket purchase were two bottles of wine, two pre-made meals, and two door prize tickets.

Wine was selected by Doug Reichel and provided by winemakers Paul Pender and Alvaro Paredes LeGrand. Dinner was provided by Randy Whitter of My Place Catering.

Couples were also sent video links of interviews with the winemakers.

“Since they haven’t been able to go out to an event they were at least able to feel like they’re participating in something with other people even if they couldn’t see them,” said Fonstad.

Tracy Feher said she’s only missed one or two events since it’s been hosted.

This year, she participated at home with close friends in her bubble.

“It was delicious. It’s always delicious and even this year we picked it up frozen and then Randy had included cooking instructions so we followed the instructions and we ate that,” Feher said.

She added that in the past the event room can get loud and it’s difficult to hear the winemakers speak. This year, the group watched the YouTube videos provided by the club and were able to decide when they wanted to listen and pause the video to taste their food and wine.

Funds going towards new Centennial Project

A majority of the money raised in the Rotary Club’s Wine Premier event will be going towards their Centennial project.

At the end of February the club announced plans to build an adventure park at Little Red River Park. Shortly after announcing their plans, the club had to put fundraising events on hold due to the pandemic.

Fonstad said the club has started working with city management again this fall, with hopes of finalizing plans in the new year.

“With the new council they got lots on their plate and we just have to work within their timelines to go through the process and with budgets and the new council and everything else we have on the go it’ll just take some time here into the new year,”

The project includes plans to build an adventure park, refresh the entrance to the Cosmo Lodge near the east side of the parking lot, and adding picnic sites.

Fonstad said the project represents one of the clubs four pillars of service – family, youth, and mothers.

“We know a couple of our members have kids involved in activities out there or go to the park on regular basis,” he said.

“You see just how busy it is given the limited nature of some of their services that are out there and recognizing that it could be something just a little more used and more accessible for everybody.”

The adventure park will be higher-intensity than other play structures, Fonstad added, including a climbing tower, zip line, elevated slides, and parkour-style circuit like in the TV show American Ninja Warrior. The structure is intended for youth aged 8 to 14 but will be suitable for the whole family, Fonstad said.

While the club is still in the negotiating and planning stages with the city, Fonstad says the project will potentially cost $1-2 million to complete everything. Pending city approval, Fonstad said the club hopes to start construction late next summer or early fall 2021.