Langley Advance Times files

Ryan’s Regards; Galas galore

A few thoughts about the overwhelming amount of galas held in Langley

Here’s some breaking news for you; I am attending my very first gala this weekend.

While prepping for the occasion, it occurred to me the number of galas in this town is sky high. Sure, I’m privy to just about every gala that goes down, making it seem like a countless amount… but Langley loves a good gala like no other place I know.

Think about it. There’s two mayor’s galas and several hospital galas. We have the Variety gala and gala’s for animals. There’s one with gumboots and plenty for schools. Local art galleries have galas. There’s a pig sanctuary that even held a gala last fall. I lack the space to properly list all of the local galas. Growing up, the only time I even heard the word gala was in reference to apples at the grocery store. My parents never said to me “dinner’s waiting in the fridge for you dear, we are off to the gala tonight.”

The word conjures up images in my mind of Gatsby-eqsue gatherings where guests arrive via horse and carriage and dance to jazz in their gowns and tuxes.

Now, I’m not immune to galas; I’ve been to an event or two in my life that have certainly possessed gala qualities.

There were plated dinners next to a table of silent auction items and a program meant to inspire. The words “banquet” or just plain old “fundraiser” were plunked in the title instead.

I even held my own “gala” a few years back for the Canadian Cancer Society, equipped with auction items, live music, food, and a fairly strict dress code.

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I didn’t dare call it a gala though; instead, I bashfully referred to it as a “night.” Through that experience, I learned how hard it can be to arrange a mass-scale fundraiser. There are a lot of sleepless nights, fussing over never-ending phone calls, menu details, and making sure the cause is at the heart of it all.

Showing up to businesses and then asking them to trust you enough to hand over a free item for a silent auction is nerve-wracking.

I believe my words after it was all said and done were “brides planning their wedding don’t have anything on me.”

So I am aware how much passion one can harbour inside as they plan to do some good with their gala and just how much elbow grease goes into one. If anyone has planned a gala or helped put one on, a round of applause and a tip of the hat is the least anyone can do to give thanks for all the astonishing generosity brought forth into the community.

My worry when it comes to the gala influx is that we are bound to exhaust resources sooner or later; too many of them defeat the purpose when they begin competing with each other, particularly if they’re raising funds for a similar cause.

So before someone starts planning their gala, their banquet, their night, or whatever they want to call it – perhaps an out of the box idea is truly what’s needed to break the mold and do some good.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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