Since 2008, the annual October Rotary Harvest & Wine Festival has been the principal fundraiser for the Tunkhannock Club to help support local and international organizations as well as its exchange student program.
The Festival, which includes music from two bands alternating throughout the day, usually attracts around 60 vendors (including approximately 10 wineries) and more than 3,000 attendees.
Since early March, the Festival Committee has been meeting to plan this year’s Festival. However, with only three months to go before the Festival, several challenges, especially with regard to large group events, have presented themselves due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, the Festival, which attracts attendees from several states, falls within the highest risk group as defined by the CDC: “Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area”.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions and for the safety of the community, the Club has determined it will not be able to hold the Rotary Harvest and Wine Festival this year on October 10, 2020, and it is in the process of working toward an Oct 9, 2021, Festival. In the meantime, the Club is adapting to the changes that are necessary and looking into multiple other fund-raising activities, one of which has a wine theme, to help continue to support our local community organizations.
Club President Terri Detrick remarked: “We are currently unsure what our adapted fund-raising for this year will look like, but we know we need to make adjustments for the safety of our community. We have many great ideas we are rapidly exploring. Details will be communicated on our website and Facebook pages as soon as they become available.”
The Club knows the changes may disappoint some individuals but is confident that with local community support and sponsorships, it will be able to continue to fund raise to support community organizations.
Although in-person Tunkhannock Rotary Club meetings were not possible over the last several months, the Club’s commitments to support various organizations were not diminished. Profits from the Oct 2019 Harvest & Wine Festival allowed Rotary to make donations to several local organizations and its member’s generosity provided support for an International organization.
From March through June 2020, in addition to the $6,000 donated to the Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen, monetary donations were made to a variety of local organizations including: $5,000 to the Tunkhannock Public Library, $4,000 to H.A.N.D.S. of Wyoming County for its summer FANS Camp, $2,000 to the Dietrich Theater, $1,500 for the Tunkhannock Area School District’s DARE program t-shirts and prize for the essay contest winner, $1,000 to the Victims Resource Center, $1,000 to Equines for Freedom, $500 to the Special Olympics, $500 to the Triton Hose Company, $500 to the Kintner Memorial Fund, $250 to the Northern Tier Symphony and $200 to the Wyoming County Chorale.
Through the outstanding fund-raising efforts of Rotarian John Hovan, the Tunkhannock Rotary was able to collect donations for $5,775 for Operation Smile to help provide life-changing cleft palate surgeries to children worldwide. Hovan’s efforts resulted in the club’s donation this year exceeding last year’s total of $4,100.