WCS harvest masquerade gala returns

The Wheatland Crisis Society hosted its harvest masquerade gala on Oct. 30 both to celebrate the fall season, as well as to raise money for victims of domestic violence.

This year is the first such event to be hosted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and attracted roughly 260 members of the community.

“It has been a couple of years since we have held this event. It was an annual event, and then COVID-19 hit so we did not get to have it. But this year, we are extremely excited to bring our gala back to Strathmore,” said Natasha Fyfe, business development specialist for the Wheatland Crisis Society.

“The community is excited … I can (say) there (were) a lot of people in the room ready for the night to get started, and I am appreciative of the support we get from our community and the ongoing support we (received).”

The gala encouraged attendees to dress formally, as well as to don elaborate masks for the occasion. As part of the festivities, a live and silent auction were held, as well as a 50/50 draw aiming to continue raising money for the WCS.

Fyfe said the WCS is always happy to get some help from the community, especially while hosting a celebration for the enjoyment of its supporters.

“Our shelter runs on a little bit of government granting, and everything above and beyond that comes from what we do in the community, whether it be donations from our corporate donors, or personal doners, right down to all the events that we hold,” she explained. “The gala is an example, or the drag show we hold every year, or any kind of community event that you see us attending. We’ve got some great sponsorship from a lot of different companies throughout and around Strathmore, so we feel completely supported for this event.”

According to Fyfe, the gala typically hosted between 150 and 200 people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is optimistic the event will continue to grow even beyond this year’s numbers.

As far as she was able to reference, the WCS harvest masquerade gala has been an annual event in Strathmore since roughly 2012, “if not prior,” and had previously been hosted in September.

“We always have some fundraising goals in mind when we plan an event. There is a huge need in the community right now for second stage housing or low income housing support,” she added. “Not only that, it also goes towards programs we offer in shelter that are not covered by government grants, (such as) our yoga program and our outreach program.”

Fyfe said the gala also, quite simply, was an opportunity for folks in the community to dress up, get out and enjoy a unique type of event.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times