Fundraising Gala

It’s time to party like it’s 1920 to ring in 2020.

Revelers can celebrate the next century in the Prohibition era with other flappers and gangsters at the Roaring ‘20s New Year’s Eve Gala hosted by the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club at Brattleboro’s American Legion.

The evening will kick off with cocktails and canapes at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner featuring steak, salmon and a variety of desserts at 7:30 p.m. and local DJ Bob Thies spinning some period and modern tunes the rest of the evening, capped by a midnight champagne toast. Attendees are encouraged to dress in 1920s style because a prize will be awarded for the best outfit from the era. A silent auction will feature such items as a gift basket from Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club, an overnight hotel stay and a one-hour massage.

Proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro for renovation of the club’s kitchen, and expansion of technology programs and partnerships with local businesses and organizations. Event planning committee member Katja Matthews, with the Brattleboro club for six years, said it is the first gala the club has hosted, and it will be an annual tradition. Next year’s recipient may be the Boys & Girls Club or another charity.

The Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro serves young people aged 6 to 18 at three different sites: the Flat Street clubhouse in downtown Brattleboro, the Westgate Community Center in West Brattleboro (a subsidized housing community) and at a facility in Bellows Falls. The club is the largest provider of youth programs and services in southern Vermont outside of the public school system.

The main clubhouse on Flat Street also features an indoor skateboard park, half-basketball court, movie-viewing and snack bar/dining areas, arts and crafts and music rooms, bike shop, study room/computer lab, fitness and weight training area, air hockey, foosball, ping pong, pool table, and multiple lounge areas.

Many of the youth served come from families who fall beneath the federal poverty level and from homes where their basic needs are unable to be met. These needs range from food, clothing and shelter to emotional support and adult guidance as they navigate childhood and adolescence.

The club, open five days a week, serves 7,000 meals a year to kids and families and provides afterschool and weekend activities as well as summer drop-in hours, expanded hours during school vacation weeks and an extensive camp program. Its mission is to provide a safe place for youth to learn and grow, develop ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, engage in life-enhancing programs, character development experiences and create hope and opportunity.

Rotary International is an international service organization that brings businesspeople together through local chapters to take on local and international projects. The Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club is routinely involved in projects around the Brattleboro area, and has also helped raise money, as well as provide volunteers, for international projects.

Among the club’s local service projects is raising funds for an annual scholarship program for local high school students and the Windham County Heat Fund, which provides fuel assistance to low-income families. International projects with which the club works include the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and Pure Water for the World.

Matthews, who managed a hotel, has missed the festive feeling of dressing up for an event.

“I thought, let’s do something for our community to celebrate the new year,” she said.

A native of Germany, Matthews joined the Rotary Club originally to get to know people in town and help her community with the hope of forming meaningful, lifelong friendships.

“We’re a group of young, vibrant professionals and retired people committed to our community,” she said.

Tickets to the Roaring ‘20s New Year’s Eve Gala fundraiser are $75 per person and are available at Vermont Artisan Designs and Cota & Cota, both in Brattleboro, or by emailing nyevegalasunriserotary@gmail.com. There will be a cash bar at the event.