The Emo Arena was transformed into a 1890s saloon Saturday night for the Rainy River Valley “Gold Rush Gala.”
More than 400 people turned out for a roast beef dinner, accompanied by live music and entertainment.
The event was hosted by the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society to raise funds for its “River Valley Events & Education Centre Project” that will help to build a new multi-use building at the fairgrounds in Emo.
RRVAS board member Joe Bodnar said he was “absolutely astounded” by the number of people who came out and dressed up for the event.
“Probably half the people there were dressed up and that amazed me,” he remarked.
“There was a lot of people dressed up, more than I thought were going to be,” echoed fellow RRVAS board member Jo Bragg.
“I was really happy with the turnout on that.”
Bodnar added the quality of the costumes also was incredible.
He said the level of support the community showed for this event was beyond what he could have imagined.
“Everything we’ve tried and asked for has come true, right from volunteers to sponsorships to donations,” Bodnar enthused.
“Everything has been more than what we anticipated.”
He is thankful the community rallied together to the support the cause.
Bragg also was impressed by the community’s support, noting many businesses that don’t typically sponsor events actually reached out to their organization personally.
“Anybody we asked was willing to do something,” she noted.
The event had 19 bronze, silver, gold, platinum, platinum plus, and premier sponsors who donated a total of more than $25,000 for the event.
The RRVAS is hoping to have raised enough money from this event to get a shovel in the ground for the new fairgrounds’ building that will house four new kitchens, a covered “open air” area for events, new washrooms, and showers.
Once construction for the building is complete, it will be open all year (except for the winter) and act as a meeting place or venue for community groups.
Along with the construction of the new facility, the RRVAS intends on renovating the existing Exhibition Hall to make it more accessible.
Both Bodnar and Bragg are incredibly thankful to the sponsors, volunteers, and individuals who donated to the cause.
“Just a huge thank you to everyone, volunteers, donors, people who sit on the fair board, people who don’t and came out,” Bodnar said.
“Just a huge thank you to everyone.”