Prohibition gala a roaring success

Ken Kellar

While the era of Prohibition may be dead and gone, it’s sense of style was on full display last week.
The Friends of the Museum held their annual fundraising gala at the Fort Frances Museum, and Friends’ president Robert Schulz said the night was a resounding success.

“I think it was just fantastic,” Schulz remarked.

“The one thing that really impressed me was the attendees, how they bought into the theme of Prohibition. So many people were dressed up as best as they could to emulate the era in our history, I thought that was really, really good,” he enthused.

The gala, themed around the museum’s current exhibit of Prohibition in our neck of the woods, offered guests that chance to dust off their suits and flapper dresses and have a night out at Fort Frances’ only speakeasy, if only for that one night.

Guests were able to check out the exhibit, rub elbows with other Prohibition-styled patrons, and partake of the “gigglewater” that Schulz and fellow Friends member Eric Fagerdahl were serving up from behind a hand crafted bar.

Appetizers from the Flint House and a spread of baking and dainties were also available to snack on.

Schulz said that it’s encouraging for the Friends of the Museum to see how many people turn out to the gala to support their programming.

“The attendance was outstanding,” he said.

“I don’t have the numbers yet on how many tickets we sold but I suspect we were right on the cusp of being illegal (in regards to museum capacity). We had quite a diverse crowd there–younger folks, a little bit older, and then a few seniors like myself, as well–but a really good mix of the population of Fort Frances was there.”

All of the funds raised from the gala, including ticket sales, donations and the proceeds from the live auction, will go towards supporting museum events like the family fun day, SnOasis, and the workshops that are held in the spring and fall of the year.

While the official counting of the funds is still pending, Schulz noted he thought the event was profitable and worthwhile.

“We’re very satisfied with the financial gain for the Friends from the gala,” he said.

“It’s going to assist in our workshops and also the SnOasis event–and I think I mentioned before we don’t charge for that; if people want to give a donation at that time, that’s fine and dandy–but it’s the workshops that we’re really focused in on to reduce the cost for participants in that.”

The gala event has grown more and more successful since its first year back in 2012, and Schulz said that people are more and more excited to attend each year.

“I didn’t get any negative comments, not one bit,” he said of the gala night.

“In fact, a couple of people came up to me and said what a fabulous job we did putting the event on, you know, they look forward to it every year, and they appreciate the efforts of the Friends of the Museum, so that’s really gratifying to hear that.”

With another successful event behind them, Shulz said the Friends of the Museum will be working hard throughout the year to keep programming for the museum going, and wished to thank those who supported the museum by attending the gala.

“We’re looking forward to them coming back next year and we certainly appreciate the generosity of everybody that bid on items and as well as the donations in the tip jar at the bar,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, we prove it year after year that Fort Frances is a very generous community, and the outlying area, too, because there were attendees from east and west of Fort Frances as well.”