After a year’s hiatus, the Fraser Valley Wine Tasting Festival returned to Willowbrook Shopping Centre in November 2019 only to be put on ice for 2020 and now 2021 due to COVID. (Rotary/file photo)

After a year’s hiatus, the Fraser Valley Wine Tasting Festival returned to Willowbrook Shopping Centre in November 2019 only to be put on ice for 2020 and now 2021 due to COVID. (Rotary/file photo)

Langley Rotary clubs forced to put wine festival on ice

COVID-19 forces cancellation of popular fundraiser for second November in a row

The Rotary clubs of Langley won’t be unpacking the wine glasses again in November.

For the second year in a row, COVID-19 has scuttled any plans to host the popular fundraiser.

“This is due to the pandemic and the need to keep people safe,” said Rotarian John Morgan. “The event normally draws upwards of 1,000 people and the Wine Festival committee are aware of the difficulty of keeping 1,000 people safe in a confined environment.”

In the past the festival was held in Willowbrook Shopping Centre after it closed. The wine festival grew from modest beginnings at the George Preston Centre but the event really took off when it moved to the Willowbrook Shopping Centre.

“There was incredible volunteer support of this event which contributed to the success of this event,” he said.

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The event, hosted by four local clubs, was popular with the public and sponsors.

“In addition, we were so fortunate to have the great support of Willowbrook and the participating restaurants,” he added, including BDO Dunwoody.

Sponsorship allowed more of the money raised to be devoted to Rotary causes. Over the 25 plus years, the event took place, it generated over a million dollars that the Rotary Club distributed to Langley charities and non-profits.

“There was no administration fees, every dime raised was turned back to the community in the form of donations, grants, and in-kind service projects,” Morgan explained.

Some of the organizations that were the beneficiaries of the funds raised are Langley Memorial Hospital, Big Brothers and Sisters of Langley, Ishtar Transition Housing Society, Langley Meals on Wheels, Starfish Backpack Program, Douglas Park Community School, and many more.

While the Rotary Clubs conducted two very successful 50/50 Mega Draws which raised almost a quarter of a million dollars, thus allowing Rotary to fulfil its commitments. it is hoped that the popular festival will be back in the future.

“At this time, it is uncertain what form it will take, but Rotarians are vowing to make it a success,” Morgan said.

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