As the saying goes, when the going gets tough …
And for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County, when the going gets tough you pivot and think outside the box.
The worldwide health pandemic of COVID-19 is preventing the local agency from holding its usual November Grafton Street Dinner Theatre fundraiser. Public health measures that include social distancing are preventing the usual sellout dinner theatre crowd from enjoying what has become an annual tradition for more than two decades.
But that’s not stopping Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County from giving the community a night to remember — safely — while raising funds at the same time.
The local agency has planned a ‘Big Night In’ with Boston Pizza which includes dinner and dessert, prizes, entertainment, an auction and more — all from the comfort of your own home.
The event will take place Thursday, Nov. 26. Tickets can be purchased from the New Glasgow Big Brothers office by calling 902-752-6260.
“All you have to do is purchase a ticket at a cost of $35 each which includes a personal-sized pizza and dessert from Boston Pizza,” explains Margie Grant-Walsh, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County.
“Then pick up your pizza at a pre-arranged time from Boston Pizza and settle in for a great show of entertainment” from local talents as well as from some of the children involved in the local agency. Alex Theriault from Z97.9 Classic Rock will emcee, introduce the entertainers and speak about the local agency. And the best part is it can all be enjoyed from your favourite living room chair. The entertainment will start at 6:30 that evening, but since it’s online you can check it out any time after that!
“Once you purchase a ticket you will be entered into some raffle draws that night and it will also give you admission to a special handbag auction — and some of these hand bags will contain a special prize.”
The handbag auction that has been a big part of the Grafton Street event for the past several years will also take place as part of the Big Night In. The exclusive private purse auction (that only ticket holders have access to) will be live on the Big Brothers website (https://pictoucounty.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/) November 23 to 26. There will also be a public purse auction that will go live from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Facebook page for the same amount of time.
In addition to fundraising, the event is also an opportunity for ticket holders to see all of the good work Big Brothers Big Sisters does in Pictou County. The video portion of the Big Night In will allow tickets holders to learn about the impact mentoring has on youth and how by giving just one hour a week to a child it can help that child gain the confidence to achieve more.
The Grafton Street dinner theatre event is a major fundraiser for the agency and Grant-Walsh is hoping the Big Night In will also be a success. “We’ve been having the dinner theatre for more than 20 years and unfortunately, because of COVID-19, are unable to host it this year. So we really hope people will support us in this new venture.”
Karen Vaughan, left, and Brenda MacNutt, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County, show some of the purses available for auction as part of the agency’s Big Night In coming up this month. (Submitted photo)