Fare for Friends Grand Finale raises $149,000 for the United Way KFL&A
The final Fare for Friends took place on Sunday afternoon in Kingston. The event raised more than $140,000 for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. The event started in 1994 and over the past 25 years has raised nearly $1.5-million for the organization.
The annual Fare for Friends event went out with a bang on Sunday, raising more than $140,000 for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. It was the 25th and final year for the event, which has raised nearly $1.5 million for the organization.
Bhavana Varma, president and CEO of the United Way of KFLA, said Sunday’s event was “absolutely amazing.”
“We had our usual excellent restaurants and wineries,” Varma said. “[Andy Poole] had an excellent lineup of musicians: Sarah Harmer, Paul Langlois, Greg Ball — everyone sang along with him and his band. … Just an amazing lineup and the food, as always, was incredible.”
The event had been sold out since May, and 400 guests were in attendance. It was hosted under a large, white tent, outside Canadian Forces Base Kingston’s Officer’s Mess on one of the hottest days of September.
The event raised money for the United Way through its ticket sales, a live auction and an online auction. Six florists, more than 20 local restaurants and more than 15 beverage companies showed off their most beautiful arrangements, best products and recipes at the garden party.
After a quarter of a century, Varma, the event’s organizing committee, and the founding co-ordinators of the event decided to go out on top.
For Joanne Langlois, who founded the event with Michele Langlois and Clark Day in 1994, it is the end of an era.
“It’s a full circle moment for sure,” Joanne said. “I think that’s why Clark and I offered to be the co-chair of this event again.”
It was especially special to have Poole return to perform at the event as he performed at the first seven, Joanne said. Back then, Fare for Friends was hosted on Clark’s by the Bay’s front lawn.
“There were a lot of familiar faces, a lot of great memories,” Joanne said. “I think the second year I ran it, I was pregnant with my daughter, who came for the first time yesterday.”
Varma said it is unique that an event should be as successful as Fare for Friends was for so long.
“It literally grew so big, and the success that it had was sustainable for so many years, but it gets to a point where it might be time,” Joanne explained. “We thought, ‘let’s go out on top,’ let the last one be the big one.”
When cleaning out her basement this past year, Joanne found an ad Fare for Friends had taken out in the Whig-Standard that thanked those who participated in the first event.
“I think it listed maybe six restaurants and the headline was ‘Biggest United Way fundraiser ever’ and it was $15,000,” Joanne said. “Times have changed because we made 10 times that [on Sunday].”
While Fare for Friends has bid farewell, Joanne promised to help the United Way develop a new event to replace it. Try as the Whig-Standard might, Varma would not release any information on what this new event may be or may entail.
“We have to get some details locked in before we release any information … it’s close, though,” Varma said. “It’s a very exciting event, very different.”
Joanne hoping the new event will be just as sustainable as Fare for Friends was.
“We’re working on something pretty exciting right now,” Joanne said. “It’s something that we’re hoping will launch a whole new event.”
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