38th Annual Pumpkin Ball

Submitted by Wendy Crabtree- Some of the high-earning Live Auction pumpkins at the WDACS Pumpkin Ball.

City of Wetaskiwin, AB – In the modern world, it is a common belief that fundraising initiatives often run their course after 5 or 7 years… So when we hear of a fundraiser that has reached the impressive milestone of 38 years, we must pay attention and assume that it is led by an energetic, dedicated group of people.
 This was the case for the 38th Annual WDACS Pumpkin Ball hosted by the Wetaskiwin & District Association for Community Services, a non-profit group dedicated to housing adults with developmental disabilities since 1964. Its first group home was built in 1972, and now WDACS owns five residences in the City of Wetaskiwin, the last one having been built in 1989. Some of the original residents of this last home are still there, and the mobility limitations of these now elderly people cannot be addressed, despite extensive renovations accomplished in recent years.  A new home is needed, and that is the goal of WDACS’ fundraising efforts .
 So once again this year, shares Dale Crabtree, vice-chair of WDACS, the residents and the business community have pulled through to support this event and its goal, making it into the successful fundraiser that it was.
 60 beautiful decorated pumpkins plus enthusiasm and generosity for a worthy cause equalled… $35,000! Yes, you read it right. With the skilled energy of two great auctioneers, Gerald Zimmerman and Leighton Sorenson and the added bonus of many generous hearts, sixty pumpkins raised over $35,000! That is an amazing feat: this amount will be added to another, raised by the sale of more than 325 tickets. The Ball was sold out! A fascinating tidbit to all those who missed out on the Ball this year: the highest-earning pumpkin in the Live Auction went for… $1,200! This was a generous gesture, as the pumpkin was indeed… magnificent!
 MP Blaine Calkins and Alberta Minister and MLA Verlyn Olson delivered greetings on behalf of their respective governments, and guests were inspired by the words of Marylin Conner, Executive Director of WDACS and those of Dale Crabtree, WDACS vice-chair. A board director, Catherine Beaton, was a vivacious, excellent MC. A special guest was Mrs Kellie Leitch, an Ontario MP who works with the Federal Status of People with Disabilities: her presence added a touch of inspiration to the proceedings.
 A stroke of inspiration created the Children’s Program: hosted in the Memorial Centre’s lower floor, it offered all the youngsters a fun dinner, crafts and games while the parents indulged in their own delicious dinner, speeches and Live Auction.  This was a popular feature of the soirée, and kids were invited to join their parents when the Auction was concluded.
 A great duo, the Moon Dogs, returning as musical performers for the Pumpkin Ball, saw many guests jump to their feet and kick up their heels. All in all, the event was a great success, bringing awareness and much needed funds to a cause that is dear to the heart of many: the safe and comfortable housing of a handful of individuals of this community, who have relatives and friends in this same community. WDACS has an informative website online (wdacs.ca) and donations towards this great goal are still gratefully welcomed! The association staff is dedicated and friendly, and they can be reached at 780-352-2241. 
 Congrats on a great Pumpkin Ball and Fundraiser, WDACS, and we look forward to your 39th Ball.

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