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‘Oscar Party’ brings in $17,000


The stars weren’t only in Hollywood on Sunday for the 79th-annual Academy Awards as about 140 people got dressed to the nines for the Riverside Foundation for Health Care’s “Official Oscar Party.”

The Foundation’s 10th-annual fundraiser netted about $17,000, exceeding its special events committee’s pledge of $15,000 to the “Just Imagine” campaign by $2,000.

Foundation director Teresa Hazel said yesterday she felt the event, which took place at the Memorial Sports Centre auditorium, was a bonafide hit.

“We’re just amazed at how much support there is for the CT Scan campaign and the ongoing needs of the hospital,” she enthused.

“For the 10th anniversary of the Foundation, and for the 10th-annual fundraising event, [special events committee chairperson] Joan Allison and her crew really know how to keep it fresh and new,” Hazel added.

With the focus of the evening being on food and fun, the formal part of the program was kept to a minimum.

Taking nicknames from some of the Oscar-nominated films this year, “The Queen” (Allison) explained the evening’s proceedings while “Little Miss Sunshine” (Hazel) thanked the special events committee for all its hard work.

Being the 10th-annual fundraiser event, Foundation chair Larry Cousineau, a founding member, also thanked the volunteers for all their work over the years.

He also thanked those who came out for the event, as well as everyone in Rainy River District who’s supported the Foundation over the past decade.

“With everyone being so ‘up’ about what we do, they make it easy,” remarked Cousineau.

Deane Cunningham, chair of the “Just Imagine” CT Scanner campaign, noted the Foundation volunteers have been very busy—and very successful—since the campaign started in October, adding more than $1.4 million of the $1.5 million goal has been raised so far.

“I have to thank everyone. Because of people like you, we could raise so much in such a short time,” Cunningham said, adding that if everything goes to plan, there will be a CT Scanner up and running at La Verendrye Hospital here this summer.

The 79th-annual Academy Awards ceremony was aired in high definition on two large-screen Panasonic plasma TVs provided by Howarth’s Home Centre.

Guests participated in the “Oscar Mania” contest, where they could try to guess the winners of the best supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, and best picture categories.

(Ballots were randomly drawn, and if a person’s ballot was drawn and had the correct award winner marked on it, that person won a cash prize).

Vilma Valenzuela won $100 for guessing “The Departed” would win best motion picture while Wanda Botsford and Wilf Sanders each won $50 for guessing Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren would win best actor and actress, respectively.

And Mary Lou Watson and Jim Cumming each won $25 for guessing Alan Arkin and Jennifer Hudson would win best supporting actor and actress, respectively.

Guests also could try their luck and win a prize at the “Wishin’ Pond,” “Lucky Stars” penny table, “Deal of No Deal,” and the “Wheel of Food & Fortune.”

Adding to the list of things to do was an “ET Photo Booth” (where event-goers could have their picture taken with an Oscar statue), a cocktail bar with Oscar-nominated theme drinks, and a feast of appetizers ranging from flambée tequila shrimp and sushi and handmade pyhrohy.

These were prepared by chef Bob Mathieson (Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc.), Manami Alexander and Ayako Sletmoen, John Hazel Jr., Todd Moxham, chef Dave Larocque (Little Beaver Snow Park Lodge), and the Ukrainian Literary Society.

There also was a “Sweet Tooth Candy & Dessert Bar,” sponsored by many local businesses.

“The chefs—they put on a great show. The food was delicious and plentiful,” said Hazel. “I’ve heard nothing but great feedback from the night.

“The cocktail bar was a hit, as well,” she added. “‘The Departed’ I’ve heard a lot about. It won best movie and I would say it won ‘best cocktail,’ too.”

There also was a silent auction featuring numerous items—some celebrity-themed, some not—donated by local businesses and individuals.

Some of the top bid-fetchers included the “Skate with the Stars” package, which will see a local hockey team hit the ice March 12 with the AHL’s Iowa Stars (coach by Fort Frances native Dave Allison).

This was won by the Times Tigers IP2 team for $1,324 (this was paid for by the parents of the players).

Other hot items included a fishing/duck hunting trip for four donated by Camp Narrows Lodge ($500), a canvas print by Connie Cuthbertson ($400), furniture from Kish Gon Dug Canada ($325), a Ducks Unlimited decoy ($300), and a jacket featuring the logos of the original six NHL teams ($200).

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