Cancer Society prepares for The Great Masquerade

Matt Gardner
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Canadian Cancer Society spring dinner and show chairperson Marjorie Somers holds up a mask while standing next to some of the surprise bags that will be on sale at this year’s fundraiser. Billed as “The Great Masquerade,” the event will take place on Wednesday evening at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre.

The Canadian Cancer Society’s annual women’s gala and fundraiser returns to Prince Albert next week in a new guise.

Inspired by entertainer Jonathan Bruce, who will be performing at the event, organizers of the group’s 19th annual spring dinner and show have billed it as “The Great Masquerade.”

“We chose the masquerade theme because of our entertainer -- because that’s going to fit in with his style of entertainment and the fun night that he’s going to give to us,” spring dinner and show chairperson Marjorie Somers said.

“He’s coming all decked out in a tux and so our theme for the masquerade is ladies all decked out in their fancy dresses and the guys decked out in their tuxes and masks and jewels … We always usually do our theme around the entertainment or the fashions that we’re going to show, because sometimes we do have a fashion show and sometimes we have an entertainer.”

The gala will take place on Wednesday at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Doors are set to open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6:45 p.m. and entertainment at 7:45 p.m.

Somers noted that the event is one of the Cancer Society’s biggest annual fundraisers.

“We have it every spring, and all the proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society and it goes towards research and support for cancer patients,” she said.

“It’s going to be a very fun event,” Somers added. “We sell out at 600 women every year and during the program, we do have a survivors’ portion, which is very important to our program.

“We have three or four people that are survivors of cancer or are battling cancer, and we tell their stories because it is a fundraiser and we are looking to get people spending, so it’s always a great night.”

While Bruce -- a musician as well impromptu actor and comedian -- will keep audiences entertained with a mix of “music through the ages” including soul, blues and rock, the gala also includes a range of other activities.

The main event is the Diamond Dig, which offers the grand prize of a $1,200 diamond bracelet donated by sponsor Bocian Jewellers.

All the proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society and it goes towards research and support for cancer patients ... It’s going to be a very fun event. Marjorie Somers

“The Diamond Dig is an event where you purchase a ticket to go and dig into the container so that you can get chances to win the diamond … You pay for one dig and you dig in there with a big scoop, and you might get one clear bead or you might get 10 clear beads,” Somers said.

“If you get one clear bead, you get one ticket for one chance on the diamond. But if you were lucky to get the 10 beads or even more, then you get 10 chances that go into the draw for the prizes … We have the big prize from Bocian Jewellers and then we have nine other smaller prizes, giving away over $2,000 in prizes.”

Other sponsors are facilitating activities of their own.

While Canadian Tire is sponsoring the evening’s entertainment and Articulate Masonry is sponsoring masks supplied at the event, local bra boutique Serendipity will be sponsoring a “shopping spree” activity.

Meanwhile, Saskatoon-based retailer Pink Tree donated money to help organizers buy goods for what they refer to as “surprise bags.”

“We call it re-gifting -- like the new things that you get at Christmas that you don’t necessarily use, like the scented bar of soap that you can’t use or that,” Somers said.

“Then we make these gift bags and … sell them for $5 a bag, and the ladies love them.”

Though the event is geared towards supporting a good cause, Somers noted the lighthearted atmosphere that pervades the gala, which also includes door prizes, raffles and a silent auction.

“It’s just generally a fun night,” she said. “The ladies come out and we have … the males that serve the ladies their drinks and coffee and tea, and it’s just a really nice night for the ladies.”

Tickets to The Great Masquerade cost $45 and are available at the Canadian Cancer Society or by calling 306-764-4808.

Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society, Prince Albert Exhibition Centre, Canadian Tire

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