One of the most popular ‘funspiels’ in Red Deer is set to return to the ice at the Red Deer Curling Club Pidherney Centre early next month.
The sixth annual Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities Central Alberta (RMH) will take over the curling club ice from Feb. 3rd to 5th, featuring a number of fun events for families of all ages.
“Basically this is a really fun, three-day jam-packed event full of great activities for people who like to curl,” said Rhanda Bonet-Graham, development manager at Ronald McDonald House Red Deer.
In addition to three days of on-ice curling action, teams who participate in the Freeze the House bonspiel are also invited to attend a Friday Night Mixer and Saturday Night Dinner and Dance which will feature live entertainment from local country music artist Jamie Woodfin.
New curlers will also be able to attend a Learn to Curl session on the opening night to get to grips with the sport.
In addition, teams will once again be able to enlist the help of celebrity curler and former Olympic Gold Medalist John Morris to take a shot for the team in exchange for a donation.
The bonspiel, which is open to curlers of all experience levels, is the largest fundraiser for the Red Deer house.
“Many people have supported this event in the past by participating as curlers or as volunteers or as members of our organizing committee, by donating silent auction items, by becoming a sponsor. There’s lots of ways that the business community has gotten involved with the event in the past,” said Bonet-Graham, adding that the support that Red Deer has shown to the event means everything to the RMH.
“We have 11 family suites here at the Red Deer house. Each suite costs us $163 per night per suite to run and we only ask of our families who stay here $12 per night. That difference we fundraise,” she said.
Everything from electricity to heat and laundry costs is paid for through fundraising.
“People’s participation in events like Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel means everything to us because it allows us to be here for families in the community that need it.”
It hasn’t been an easy year for RMH. In past years, the bonspiel has had up to 50 teams register for the bonspiel. In 2016, the spiel had just 40 teams and, at the time of writing, only 28 teams are registered for this year’s event.
“We’re still feeling the effects of a sluggish economy and people have to cut back on their support and on their spending and we completely understand that. Unfortunately, there will still be illness, children will still need to be in the hospital and their families will still need Ronald McDonald House to support them,” said Bonet-Graham, adding that they are asking families to try to participate in the event or with the house in any way that they can.
“Our needs have increased in the sense that we’re finding more and more families that need more and more support when they do come to the house,” she said.
Registration is still open for any teams wishing to participate in the Freeze the House Bonspiel. Anyone wishing to register a team or find out more can visit the Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel page on the Ronald McDonald House Charities web site at http://www.ahomeawayfromhome.org/events/bonspiel/.