Fest-of-Ale pours out funds

Beer drinkers help raise $30,000 for charities that received cheques this month

A total of 16 organizations benefited from the thirsty patrons who attended the18th annual Okanagan Fest-of-Ale.

At a special gathering recently at the Cannery Brewing Company, the $30,000 raised during the spring event was distributed to recipients.

In total, since 2003, the society which looks after the Fest-of-Ale has poured $450,000 back into the communities.

Registered charitable groups put in requests each year to receive funding from the net proceeds.

In addition to the host business this year which supplied beverages, Flambé provided appetizers for the gathering.

According to Fest-of-Ale marketing chair, Wayne Schmuck, the society has five goals: to promote overnight visits to Penticton during the shoulder season, to ensure all micro brewers are able to promote their products at an affordable event; to ensure it does not compete with local restaurants, pubs and nightclubs during peak hours, and to run a responsible consumer-tasting event in partnership with BC Liquor’s Get Home Safe Program.

“Most importantly (is) to support a number of local registered charities,” he said.

Among the groups which received grants from the organization this year was the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre which used the funds to purchase some badly needed chairs.

“The chairs get a lot of use and they wear and tear and so of course for the safety of our seniors we need to upgrade them all the time,” said centre manager Glenda Ross.

“Especially for seniors and because we have so many different events it is important for them to be comfortable.”

Regular activities run daily during the week at the South Main Street location, with special events taking place regularly on weekends.

“Grants like this from the Fest-of-Ale are very important to us because we do run on limited funding and the place is run by volunteers so it’s important to get what we can,” said Ross.

Over the year the centre averages about 500 members.

Other organizations receiving money included: Agur Lake Camp Society, Birthright of Penticton, BC SPCA, Community Foundation of the Okanagan, Dragonfly Pond Family Society, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Okanagan Foundation (education grant) OSNS Child Development Centre, Options for Sexual Health, Penticton Community Soupateria Society, Penticton Fire Department, SS Sicamous Restoration Society, Princess Margaret, Penticton and Summerland secondary schools (education grants), South Okanagan Children’s Charity and the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

Next year’s Fest-of-Ale takes place April 4 and 5 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.