Rotary After Hours of Twin Falls Pulls Off Martini Tasting Masquerade Ball Covid Style
2020/2021 have been challenging for sure. Our club was lucky enough to have our major fundraising event February 2020 and broke all our fundraising records! We were ecstatic.
Then COVID hit Idaho HARD and it never seemed to slow down! We did not think we would have to worry a year later about being shut down for 2021’s event! And yet there it was staring us right in the face. We had to make a decision – Move forward planning the event and hope beyond hope, fingers and toes crossed, it works out OR cancel/postpone our event till spring hoping the numbers would be better.
Rotary After Hours members are optimists and kind of stubborn. We opted to hope for the best and plan accordingly. Our beneficiary this year was Camp Rainbow Gold and we didn’t want to let those kids down, so we pressed on!
First on our list of preparations was WHERE to hold our event. We needed a really really big place that would allow us to spread out. We had over 300 attendees in 2020 and we were packed like sardines, so we needed much more room. We were lucky enough to have donated for our use the old historic Wells Fargo building downtown. It was perfect! HUGE, two floors which allowed us to spread out the martini shakers, gaming tables, VIP tables, silent auction items… well everything! Giving us lots of space between people and tables. Check!
Next the dreaded mask issue… We knew this was going to be a sensitive topic. Every year we have a new theme, last year it was Roaring 20’s and people dress accordingly. So, we brainstormed, if we could pick a theme that had a face covering rather than an eye covering that might work and still be fun. We came up with a couple creative ideas, like Arabian Nights, cool idea but February is pretty cold for that kind of clothing! So, we settled on a Wild West Showdown theme, you know like shoot-out at OK corral type thing or cowboy bank robbers…you get the idea. Check!
Then to remedy the social distancing problem, we introduced gaming tables (or gambling but that is a naughty word in Idaho). These were easily spaced apart and sold as VIP tables, people that purchased them were related or businesses that already worked together. Check!
That is three big issues down! What else can we do to reduce spread? We decided to save ourselves the headache by ONLY selling tickets online so no long lines on-site thus reducing contact. While we are at it, we sold funny money online, so guests picked up pre-purchased funny money from the “bank”.
From October to January, we held our breath and kept steadily working to be ready. All preparation were going famously and everyday kept getting closer to February 21. We were getting nervous as Idaho was still in Stage II.  Finally, on February 2 the Governor moved us to Stage III! However, that still did not accommodate our numbers UNLESS we could get permission from the South Central Public Health District. At this point Twin Falls counties numbers were very low and looking really good. We promptly called them to receive all the necessary forms. Long story short, they gave us our approval. They were impressed with all our club’s plan to help reduce the virus spread and keep our attendees safe.
We expected about half the participation for this year’s event due to COVID. We had 130 attendees and those folks helped us raise more than we did with over 300 attendees in 2020. Breaking another record! People were so giving, had a great time and thanked us for having this event after being locked down for so long.
We donated over $11,000 to Camp Rainbow Gold to purchase peddle boats, canoes, life jackets, games, and so much more for their new campground in Fairfield, ID.
In our case - Timing was EVERYTHING! With a little luck, lots of hard work and perseverance we pulled it off.
Now we rest until 2022 Whew!
Photos below show only a fraction of the items we were able to purchase for Camp Rainbow Golds new campground in Fairfield Id.