Janna Burgart of the Soup Wallah came and served fresh espresso for patrons of the Community Foundation fundraiser.

A taste of Fort St. James

The Fort St. James Community Foundation held a tasting event and fundraiser, and the night was a fine taste of Fort.

The Fort St. James Community Foundation held a tasting event and fundraiser, and the night was a fine taste of Fort.

The David Hoy Elementary gymnasium was literally transformed for the event on Oct. 6 and made into a cosy and atmospheric locale and 116 patrons were sipping, sampling,  and mingling under white tents and white lights.

Tables were set up with samples of wine, beer, and some unique spirits, with samples poured by local personalities volunteering their time, from the ladies hockey team to the new physicians the Dr. Van zyls.

“So that was fun to have lots of different people involved,” said Kris Nielson, one of the organizers.

There were 21 silent auction items to bid on, made up of items donated by over 50 local businesses.

“It was amazing to see the generosity of local businesses,” she said.

The super-social event was only three hours long, but packed a lot in to the small amount of time.

“I think this is a good mix for the personality of the community,” said Nielson, who said the networking was great and there were many people relatively new to the community who it gave a chance to get out and meet more of the community.

Nielson pointed out there were non-drinkers who even came to the tasting event with a spouse, and there were espresso shots, pop and water for those who did not want to partake in the alcohol sampling.

“Again, it was that social piece,” she said.

The treasure chest, which included a bed and breakfast stay in Manson Creek, a handmade quilt by Lonnie King and a helicopter ride with Interior Helicopters, was won by Marge and Gerry Ford. The Germansen Landing bed and breakfast stay was won by Mel Chesnutt and the Fort St. James stay-cation was won by Louise Evans-Salt.

This year’s event exceeded last year’s fundraiser by the foundation by quite a bit, raising an estimated net profit of $14,000, up from last year’s $10,500.

The group said they are looking forward to continuing to work towards their 10-year goal of $1 million towards the foundation’s principle.

The group will be awarding their first grant funding this year from the foundation for the community and are looking for people to sit on the committee to review applications for funding.

The net raised at the event does not include some other signifiant donations such as the payroll deductions given by Conifex, Artisan Reforestation and Ubleis Logging employees. The foundation said their goal is to sign up 773 workers to donate $5 each pay period, which would equal $100,000 per year for the foundation.

Nielson said for the price of a Starbuck’s coffee every two weeks, people could make a big difference.

Artisan, for the second year in a row, matched their employee donations and presented the foundation with a cheque again, this year for $8,662.

Conifex held a small fundraiser of their own with a dunk tank so employees could pay to dunk their supervisors, raising $485.

Lonnie King also donated all of her sellout fabric from the quilt store she had and raised $6,583 for the foundation.