The Rotary Club of Perth (Ontario, Canada – D 7040) has received $1,000 from a first-time visitor to its annual Ribfest event.
This year’s festival, held at Last Duel Park, having moved from the Perth Fairgrounds, was a new experience for Lois Worthen.
“I hadn’t been to one before,” admitted Worthen, sitting at the club’s table at Michael’s Table restaurant on Monday, Aug. 27, as the executive nearby wrapped up their meeting.
“I thought it was run so well,” she said of the festival. “Rotary did a great job. They didn’t miss anything.”
There was no grand epiphany about making a donation to the club — simply, “a light bulb went on.”
In fact, while Worthen pressed a cheque for $1,000 into the hand of club president Frank Larabie outside of the restaurant moments later, another cheque for $1,000 will soon be making its way into the club’s coffers, though Worthen joked that “I should own it (the club) after this!”
In the past, Worthen has taken part in other charitable events, even taking part in a memorable round of golf with entertainer and singer Wayne Rostad during the Alzheimer Society of Lanark County’s annual golf tournament at the Perth Golf Course one year.
Larabie said after the cheque presentation that when it came to praise that the club had received for Ribfest, “Lois not only talks about it, but puts her heart and soul into it,” he said.
After expenses were paid off, the club raised more than $20,000 from the 2018 Ribfest.
The crowds “saw the difference between the old and new location,” Larabie said. “(We have had) so many great comments about how well it went … We’ve already started planning for next year.”
The water taxi operating between the Last Duel Park and the Tay Basin was a big hit, and there are plans afoot to run boats to the Poonamalie Lock on the Rideau Canal system, for a 30 to 40 minute ride, which includes a boxed lunch, for about $25 per person.
The club hosts more than a dozen events each year, but a recent barbecue at Camp Merrywood outside of Port Elmsley was especially poignant.
While it was attended by the new president of Easter Seals Canada, the event, held on Wednesday, Aug. 22, fed more than 200 hungry campers and their supporters, and “it’s by far one of the most humbling things we do every year,” Larabie said. “(It) inspired the rest of us like nothing else we do all year.”
The praise for Ribfest continued during the Tuesday, Aug. 28 town council meeting. Councillor Riq Turner, who also moonlights as a singer with his Riq Turner Band, performed at Ribfest, and said he felt a lot of pride that the event was such a success at Last Duel Park, having grown up so close to the park.
“I had such a sense of pride, seeing how many people were down by the old neighbourhood,” said Turner. “The new location down at Last Duel Park was awesome.”
He reminded council that while the town’s many festivals do have economic spin-off benefits, the Ribfest really does give back, raising money to be reinvested in community programming. He saw people leaving the premises who were still wanting to donate to the club, saying “I’d like you to have more of my money,” he said.