That its Lobsterfest event has been successful for 50 years comes down to the community, says the chair of the Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Club Kelly Affeldt.
The annual fundraiser is one of the club’s flagship events. This year, they expect to sell out of the 600 tickets available.
Affeldt says the event’s success is truly a testament to the power of public support.
“It’s a strong sense of community that makes this possible,” he said. “This has been five months of planning to make this event. It’s pretty huge for Rotary. It’s one of the biggest fundraisers, for sure. And it’s all volunteers. We can say [it’s taken] 80 volunteers to pull this off this year.”
That effort includes the 17 committee members dedicated to the event, he adds.
The group is determined and dedicated to the cause, said Affeldt. They persevered through the pandemic, and found a creative way to keep the event going virtually.
Adjusting to the pandemic, a pre-cooked lobster was delivered to people, along with all the ingredients needed for a lobster dinner. The cooking was hosted by professionals at The Culinary Studios. All the participants prepared their lobster dinner in real time along with the chef at home.
“That was quite a feat. You have about 500 computers running in everybody’s house, because it was during COVID. We did a virtual online cooking class with the lobster and we ended up making our dishes online,” said Affeldt. “It worked out amazingly.”
This year’s proceeds will go toward the Ukraine Relief Fund; the Children of Promise organization to help build and supply an orphanage-school for children in war-torn Sudan; Tumaini, an organization working to provide education to a community in Tanzania by building schools and facilities; San Miguel organization, which helps ensure children who are deaf become literate, independent and participating citizens.
The organization also raises funds for local organizations through campaigns such as the Dream Home lottery, which is no longer running, and the annual turkey drive campaign. Recipients include the House of Friendship, KidsAbility, St. Mary’s and Grand River hospitals, Lutherwood Village, among many others, said Affeldt.
This year’s Lobsterfest is taking place at St. George’s Banquet hall, and also includes a large 50/50 draw, with last year’s winner walking away with $2,500, as well as dancing and live music provided by Amplified MidLife Crisis.
This year, Affeldt says the team expects to sell all 600 tickets, with a goal to raise $50,000 through sales and donations.
“It’s all about giving back to the community. We have a motto. It’s called service above self,” he said. “We are here to help people that are in need through various fundraisers. Lobsterfest is one of them.”
“It’s about the giving back, so it’s like-minded people in Rotary volunteering to support and to give back to community and internationally.”
For more information, visit www.lobsterfest.ca.