FITZROY HARBOUR – It was a record-breaking start to the St. Michael’s Catholic Church fundraising euchre series which kicked off at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre last Saturday (Feb. 1).
The first of four euchre tournaments held in the Harbour boasted 31 tables, the most in the tournament’s roughly 10-year history.
“This is probably our biggest euchre yet,” Constance Bay resident and volunteer organizer Garry Fisher told West Carleton Online moments before participants started throwing cards.
The tournament boasts big cash and a free lunch and “it’s a pretty important fundraiser for the church,” Fisher said.
He estimates over the first nine years, the fundraiser has raised more than $40,000 for the church. It also raises a fair bit of cash-money for the best card players. First prize is $300, and the tournament has $800 in prize money for each Saturday the tournament runs. It’s a four-day series taking place the first Saturday of each of the next three months.
“It’s also a great social event,” Fisher said. “We get players from McNab-Braeside, Arnprior, Carp, Stittsville, and of course from around here as well.”
Fisher says about 10 volunteers help organize the event and not all of them are St. Michael’s parishioners. But parishioners do donate all the food for the lunch that is served. There are also draw prizes for participants.
For the Feb. 1 event, there was a special guest of honour. Arley Smith was celebrating her 96th birthday at the tournament.
Fisher spoke to the participants before the start of the tournament and after the end of lunch, thanking them for their support. He also asked those in attendance to pay tribute to those who were not there.
“We have lost a few members of our euchre community over the years,” Fisher said. “Let’s stand up for a moment of silence.”
St. Michael’s reverend, Father John Orban was also in attendance and thanked the participants for their support, before Fisher thanked him for his words.
“He talks enough on Sunday,” Fisher joked. “We got to get started on time because mass is at 4 p.m. and Father Orban gets upset if we don’t show up.”
The St. Michael’s euchre series continues on the first Saturday of the next three months starting at 1 p.m. at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre. The cost is $20 per player and participants can register at the event.