By Ron VandenBoom
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, the community of Havre will be given the opportunity to imagine themselves amid the glimmering lights and greatest talents of Broadway at the seventh annual Northern Montana Health Care Foundation Wine and Cheese Festival.
One of Havre's premier social events of the year, the foundation has chosen the theme "Broadway Lights" for this year's charity fund raiser.
Kathleen Richardson, Foundation director, said guests at this year's event will experience the ambiance of "Madam Butterfly," the romance of "GiGi," and the continental flavor of "The Sound of Music" when the MSU-Northern SUB Ballroom is decorated to emote the essence of American theater.
Posters from actual Broadway shows will add to the atmosphere and Shawn Holden will disc-jockey music that reflects just the right tempo for Broadway Lights.
This will be the seventh year the foundation has held the Wine and Cheese festival, Richardson said, and it is the primary fund raiser for the organization. Last year the foundation raised about $14,000 at the festival and this year they hope to improve on that figure.
Perhaps the best known of the foundations contributions to health care on the Hi-Line was the purchase several years ago of a $27,000 kidney dialysis machine that allows people suffering from kidney failure to receive their treatments locally rather than having to drive to Great Falls three times a week.
Funds collected from this year's festival will go toward the creation of a Community Fitness Park to be located just south of Northern Montana Care Center. The 6.5 acre park will consist of a soccer and softball field as well as walking paths that are wheelchair friendly. Picnic tables, trees, and benches are also expected to be a part of this project.
Richardson said the park is expected to cost approximately $100,000 and she anticipates that it will take two years to raise the funds. The Wine and Cheese Festival will be the first step in the journey toward reaching that goal.
Wine, supplied by Pennington's, and cheese, supplied by Gary and Leo's IGA, will be the main attraction at this year's festival with what Richardson called, "a large and varied assortment" that will give the community the opportunity to taste a little bit of something new and different.
But the heart of the fund raiser will be the silent auction.
Richardson said more than 60 items have so far been donated by individuals and local businesses and items are still coming in.
A few of the items up for auction are paintings, hand crafted dolls, Christmas baskets, wine baskets, an eight place silverware setting, and a rare Barbie Doll collector's set that came from Elvis Presley's Graceland.
"The community has been very generous," Richardson said.
A Live People Auction is also one of the featured fund raisers as well as a featured entertainment.
Dave Greenwood will be this year's auctioneer as he accepts bids on eight volunteers and four couples who will be auctioned off to prepare meals or other special tasks.
Still keeping with the Broadway Lights theme, Dr. Robert and Lori Henderson will offer the lucky bidder a "Sound Of Music" meal of German cuisine personally prepared in appropriate costume. Leslie and Bud Baldwin will continue the theme by offering baeuf en Craute, a French entree from the musical GiGi. Beth and Joe Davidson will use the theme from "Annie Get Your Gun" to prepare a genuine traditional western meal to another lucky bidder.
Last, but not least, will be a oriental meal prepared to the theme of "Madam Butterfly"
by Dr. Bruce and Kathleen Richardson.
Guests will also be eligible for a variety of door prizes and other auction items.
Tickets for the festival are $25 each and are available at Western Security Bank, Independence Bank, The Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, The Foundation Office at the hospital and from members of the foundation board of trustees.
Some tickets may be available at the door, but Richardson warned that last year the event sold out so it's a good idea to get your tickets early.