Festival of Giving stays online for 2021, moves to summer

The Chatham-Kent Children's Treatment Centre (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent’s annual Festival of Giving event is coming back virtually once again for 2021.

Normally an in-person function during the spring, organizers pushed it back to October in 2020 and hosted it virtually.

This year’s Festival of Giving will stream through Facebook Live and is set for July 10 from 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

The theme is “Good Times and Tan Lines” and Foundation President Mike Genge said he’s looking forward to getting to put on the event during the summer.

“We looked at it as everybody is going stir crazy. If we could do something in July, you can do it in your own bubble, in your backyard while keeping safe,” he explained. “We thought the summertime would be a great time since nobody is travelling [this year.] ”

Learning from last year’s virtual event, Genge said the foundation has worked out any kinks for their second time around. He added that organizers have a feel now for what people enjoyed most about the event last year, including the live auction.

Despite going online last year, the event was still a big success.

“We learned some good lessons,” said Genge. “We still made $175,000 last year. People are on board, people love it.”

As usual, anyone who purchases a ticket will get a Festival of Giving party bag filled with goodies from local businesses.

There will also be a wide variety of silent auction items available to bid on the week prior to the event as well as live auction items up for grabs on the night of.

Genge said there will be something for everyone including trips, home renovations and sports and music memorabilia.

If all that wasn’t enough, anyone who attends also has a one in 650 chance of winning a car.

“At the end of the day one person is going to walk away with a 1996 BMW Z3 roadster convertible,” Genge exclaimed. “This thing is beautiful.”

All proceeds directly support programming at the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent, which helps young people with physical, communication, and developmental needs.

On top of the Festival of Giving, officials with the treatment centre are also looking forward to opening a brand new facility.

As part of the 2021 Ontario Budget unveiled in March, the province’s Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced that the province will be setting aside some funding to help build a new space for the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent.

According to Genge, the team is in the process of finishing the function plan, which narrows down how many rooms are needed and the sizes of each room. The plan is expected to be done by the end of May. From there, the centre will move forward with selecting an architect for construction, followed by a contractor.

“It’s like every holiday came together on one day when we got the announcement,” said Genge. “It was absolutely fantastic.”

Tickets for the 2021 Festival of Giving can be purchased by clicking here.