DU banquet axed this year

Joey Payeur

One of the most successful fundraisers in Rainy River District is dead in the water, at least for this year.
The annual Ducks Unlimited banquet here has been cancelled due to the lack of a chairperson to take over the leadership role in organizing the event.
“A couple of key people who worked at the mill were displaced by its closure and are no longer in the community,” explained longtime banquet committee member Don Cumming.
“Luc Quesnel, who was the chairman the past few years, now has a job as a DU rep in Brandon,” he noted.
“The existing group on the organizing committee was getting a little tired after doing it for so many years and no one was willing to take the chairmanship at this point,” Cumming added.
“It’s a little disappointing.”
The banquet had run for the past 32 years and raised roughly $775,000 for Ducks Unlimited in total, including about $25,000 last year.
“DU Canada is also disappointed because this was one of the top 20 events in Ontario yearly when it came to raising money,” said Cumming.
“There’s a lot of people phoning up the [Fort Frances] Times for tickets who are disappointed, too, because it’s one of the fun events that people attend around here each year,” he added.
“There’s a real mixed group of people that come to it,” he explained.
“It’s a social gathering and a lot of young people have been going out to it.”
Cumming said the opportunity is there to resurrect the event if an individual or group wants to take the ball and run with it—and they won’t have to worry about being left alone to stumble through the process blindly.
“There have been committee members who have been doing this for 15 years who are there to give assistance if somebody wants to take it on,” he remarked.
“It’s not a whole lot of hard work and it’s not a labour-intensive thing, and only gets really busy in the last week before the event,” Cumming noted.
“Things are in place that if people step up, it could get going again next year.”