BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The annual Lacombe Athletic Park Association (LAPA) Gala is coming up quickly, with just over 100 tickets still available.
The LAPA Gala, powered by D & M Concrete, is the largest annual fundraiser for the LAPA group.
Each year, sponsors and supporters are recognized for their contributions through a fun evening at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, with proceeds going towards local community projects.
Tickets are $100 per person, or a table of eight for $700.
Tickets are available online at lacombeathleticpark.ca, in person from any LAPA executive member and at Reds Sports Lacombe. The event takes place on March 4th, with cocktails at 5:15 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. following introductions.
Darrin Thompson, a member of the LAPA executive, said the event is a great way to show thanks to those who continue to support the sport community in Lacombe.
“I think we’re most excited for the chance for our executive members to relax for the night. We have quite a few strong supporters who have been with us for the years, and this is a great night for them to sit back and relax and enjoy themselves. As well, it’s great for our long-time sponsors to be appreciated,” he said.
Thompson mentioned he didn’t want to give much away, but any Calgary Flames fans ought to secure their tickets as soon as possible. He said the Flames are official partners for this year’s gala.
The evening offers a wide variety of auction items, including Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers gear.
As well, the event often hosts celebrities from Canadian sports groups. This year, guests will have the chance to rub elbows with 1993 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup champion Gilbert Dion.
“Gilbert is one of our long-time celebrity supporters who will be on hand once again. He always has a great time with the crowd,” said Thompson.
This year, the official Grey Cup Fun Police – Officers Dave and Cory – will be on site ticketing those who simply aren’t having enough fun.
The funds raised from this year’s gala will be put towards new regulation-sized basketball courts that will be located at the ME Global Athletic Park.
Thompson said ground will break on that project as soon as the snow melts.
“It’s going to be family-friendly and available for the public to use, as well as people to rent out for team tournaments,” he added.
“The basketball court was an idea brought forward by our out-going chairman, Murph Cunningham. He’s been very involved in the basketball community, coaching and playing. He is even part of the University of Alberta basketball Hall of Fame. This is one of his projects.”
Thompson said the organization wants more people in the community to get out and enjoy basketball, and as of now, there aren’t any significant courts in the community. He said there was a pilot project done by the City to incorporate some hoops near the local water treatment park, and that area has seen a positive response, spurring the ME Global Athletic Park project further.
Aside from the fundraising and food, guests will also enjoy many laughs from long-time host Gery Schubert, who will be bringing his own ‘Don Cherry-esque’ performance to the gala.
“The whole evening leads up to a special salute to Bill “Scottie” Dickie. Bill Dickie is known in the Calgary community more than the Lacombe community, but since he moved here with his wife, they have really supported our gala over those years,” Thompson said.
“We really want to give him some recognition for all the work he’s done for minor sports here in Lacombe, and throughout Alberta.”
Thompson said tickets are going quickly, and those who want to support the event should reserve their tickets as soon as possible.