Monte Carlo comes to Parksville

 In need of a fancy night out? -
In need of a fancy night out?
— image credit:

Hobnob with royalty and the stars as Parksville’s elite come out to play at the annual chamber of commerce gala auction Saturday night.

While far from an exclusive event, the gala fundraiser is a chance for anyone to get some use out of that tuxedo and gown.

This year, it’s even more so, as the theme simply screams black tie — Monte Carlo: A Night at the Palace. And, as is the norm with the event, tickets are at a premium.

“We have a few tickets left,” said Parksville and Chamber of Commerce president Kim Burden. “Our capacity is around 230 people and over 200 tickets have been sold now.”

It’s no surprise tickets have been snapped up, the gala has been popular for years — both as a fancy night out no matter the annual theme (it was Zorro in 2006), and as a chance to bid on some excellent items in the silent and live auctions.

“We have trips, meals for many, lots of silent auction items,” said Burden, “it’s a great place to do your Christmas shopping, as prices range from $30 or $40 items to those in the thousands.”

Many local businesses have stepped up and made donations to the auctions, Burden said — something the chamber really appreciates, and of course they hope to get the most value for them in the auction.

That shouldn’t be a problem, as the auction has garnered a lot of money for the chamber’s fundraising effort. Burden said the auctions generally raise around $60,000. After the cost of putting on the gala (in the neighbourhood of $25,000), Burden said the business organization has close to $35,000 left (on average). That money, he continued, is used for the Visitor Information Centre and various community events, such as the Canada Day and Santa Claus parades.

“It’s for things we do in the community — a fundraiser to have that money to put back into the city.”

This year’s Monte Carlo theme is focussed around royalty, palaces and the glitteratti. Burden said decorations committee chairperson Cheryl Dill and a group of volunteers hope to transform the Parksville Community and Conference Centre into the lap of luxury.

“It is a black tie event,” Burden said. “A gala. An opportunity to dress up for a party.”

Yes, there are party games planned and plenty of special guests — such as emcee Bob Bourgeault and auctioneer/TV personality Bruce Williams. The shindig is to be catered by Stewart’s on Harrison.

The 2007 Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce gala auction is Sat., Oct. 13, 5 p.m. Tickets are available from Linda at the chamber office, 248-3613.


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