Brandon Karaba (left) and Dave Havel (right) show off tickets on sale now for the 33rd annual Kiwanis Winter Escapes Extravaganza slated for March 7.
2/11/2020 7:30:00 AM Kiwanis Club to host 33rd annual Winter Escapes March 7
Stephanie Kuski River News Features Reporter
Tickets are on sale now for the Rhinelander Kiwanis Club's 33rd annual Winter Escapes Extravaganza set to take place Saturday, March 7 at Cabaret Cove, formerly The Taj Mahal, in Rhinelander.
The annual fundraiser has raised over $400,000 in support of children's organizations and other family-oriented projects for the community of Rhinelander.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and ticket drawings begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $45.
Only 500 tickets will be sold for the event and can be purchased from any Kiwanian. If you don't know anyone affiliated with the Kiwanis Club, stop by Peoples State Bank in Rhinelander or call Brandon Karaba, the chairman of the event.
Dave Havel, master of ceremonies and event organizer, said those interested in participating should secure tickets as early as possible because tickets are selling fast.
Havel said the evening will be chock-full of various side raffles including 50-50 buckets, a silent and live auction, pull tabs and a special event raffle upon arrival.
"There's all sorts of fun things going on all night long," Havel said. "It's a great night, a lot of fun."
All tickets will be drawn one at a time throughout the evening. The last ticket will win a $2,000 cash prize and the 250th ticket will win $1,000.
As participants wait for their name to be called, Havel said the evening becomes very climatic, especially when those who are in the final drawing are present.
"You do not need to be present to win," Havel said, "but it's always more fun when our winner is there to have their picture taken with $2,000."
In addition, several tickets will be drawn at random throughout the evening and will win $100 each. Area merchants will also donate over 100 merchandise items or gift certificates to be given away as prizes to ticket holders.
"One in three will win either a cash or merchandise prize, or a gift certificate of some kind," Havel said. "So there's a really good chance to win something there."
In addition, the ticket value includes dinner and free soda or beer all night.
Ticket sales will go to the Kiwanis Club of Rhinelander in support of its various community projects.
"Every last bit of the money we raise goes back into our Kiwanis projects for our community," Havel said. "Our Kiwanis Club is geared towards doing projects for youth. Over the years, we've been able to do a lot of things for the youth of greater Rhinelander."
In the last several years, Havel said the Rhinelander Kiwanis Club has funded a new dock system for Camp Birchrock, remodeled and landscaped at ArtStart, constructed the greenhouse at the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry, sponsored the lighted basketball court at Central School and added playground equipment to Pioneer Park. In addition, the Kiwanis Club donates three $1,500 scholarships to high school seniors every year.
While the Kiwanians do many recurring projects every year, each year they also choose a special project in support of the current Kiwanis president.
"We get behind our current president and devote approximately half of our annual budget to a special Kiwanis project for the community," Havel explained.
He said the club is currently considering proposals for this year's special project, but the common denominator is supporting local youth.
At one point, the Winter Escapes fundraiser was a special pet project for Havel, who first organized the event 33 years ago. He said he learned of a similar fundraiser on a trip to Michigan and brought the idea back to Rhinelander. He's served as the emcee ever since.
"I've been a member for a long, long time," Havel said. "Kiwanis is my first love. We're the best service member organization in town, and it's a great way to give back to the community. We have a great group of people and we have a lot of fun."
Havel said the group is always welcoming new members and invites those interested to join their weekly meeting on Wednesday afternoons.
For more information on joining the Kiwanis Club of Rhinelander, or securing tickets for Winter Escapes, visit their Facebook page or contact Havel at 715-490-2309.
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