Sold out Gala welcomes supporters to Sultan’s Tent

 A belly dancer makes her way through the Sultan’s Tent at the annual Hospice North Hastings fundraising event on May 2 in Bancroft.

A belly dancer makes her way through the Sultan’s Tent at the annual Hospice North Hastings fundraising event on May 2 in Bancroft.

What started as a love of Moroccan food, music and history morphed and grew into the theme for another sold-out Gala for Hospice North Hastings at the Bancroft Curling Club on May 2.

Guests were invited to delight in the sights and sounds of a Moroccan Souk, the Sultan’s Lounge and to dance for hours under the golden tent. Party goers embraced the Moroccan theme and created costumes and outfits that were fit for an evening in this historical fantasy.

From the moment guests walked into the tent, they were greeted by the smells of Moroccan inspired dishes that were prepared with love by Bruce Kellar. Kellar worked for months to perfect a huge menu of specialty items that would meet the expectations of any Sultan. The food received rave reviews and there was more than enough to allow for second helpings.

The Moroccan Souk was packed with donations from merchants, artists and community members who were incredibly enthusiastic in their support of Hospice North Hastings. From paddle boats and boards to vacations, art work to hand crafted furniture, there were treasures for everyone to bid on.

Volunteers worked for months on the décor and with four full days of set-up in the Curling Club, the interior was theatrically transformed into a golden tent full of treasures.

When last call came and the band played their last song party, guests still lingered. Departing guests said it was an amazing night to remember.

“This year we really wanted to create a fantasy environment,” said Hospice Coordinator Heather Brough. “We wanted to transport our guests to a magical, far away place where for a few hours they could simply enjoy great company, great food and music. This event is about raising money but it’s also our way of thanking our supporters for all they do.”

And while party guests were still sleeping on Sunday morning, volunteers gathered at the Curling Club to start a gruelling eight hour take-down shift. Brough says the event is always exhausting but it’s worth the effort.

“This is such an important event,” explained Hospice Coordinator Heather Brough. “We provide service for 900 residents of North Hastings every year through the programs and services we provide. We don’t charge for any of these programs and services so fundraising is how we do all that we do.”

Brough feels the event was a success but admits that she was somewhat deflated by comments posted to Facebook after the event that suggested the event was culturally inappropriate.

“We created a fantasy environment and people dressed-up to be a part of that experience,” Brough said after the comments were posted online. “This was a creative event and if there are concerns I’m available to listen to those concerns.”

Brough says once she and the volunteers from Hospice get some much needed rest that planning will start for next year’s event. The theme for 2016, while top secret, has already been decided.