Margaritas galore, mellow beach party music and delectable Caribbean-themed cuisine will all be served up in style along Sarnia’s scenic waterfront on Saturday, Aug. 21, as the Alzheimer Society of Sarnia-Lambton is set to host its third annual Jimmy Buffet-inspired summer fundraiser, It’s Five O’Clock Dockside.
With COVID-related restrictions easing and a tangible desire on the part of local residents to partake in an informal, fun, open-air gala, the Alzheimer Society decided to host the hybrid event in partnership with Alternative Grounds Dockside restaurant and Sarnia Bay Marina in an area which will accommodate up to 250 partygoers, said the Alzheimer Society’s Marie Marcy-Smids.
There will also be a takeout option for partygoers who would like to enjoy their meals and music elsewhere, Marcy-Smids added, whether at home with friends on dry land or aboard the nautical vessel of their choice.
“So far it seems like most people want to attend in-person this year, but we do have the option for take-out as well,” she said. “We decided to have that option because some people like to have their own, backyard party. And we’re going to livestream the concert featuring the local band Borderline so that they can watch it from they homes…or people watching from their boats.”
The annual fundraiser is one of the Alzheimer Society’s anchor events, Marcy-Smids said, and since its inception in 2019 the event has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help finance the agency’s numerous programs, supports and initiatives the society delivers to individuals and families coping with dementia.
“Our first year was very successful – we raised around $45,000 gross, though we had some expenses, including a very cool tiki bar built by St. Pat’s students,” she said. “But it was very well received, it was sold out and people had a really good time because it’s not your traditional gala – it’s a laid back, wear-your-flip-flops kind of event.”
Organizers said they are hoping to raise over $40,000 from this year’s event.
With three ticket options to choose from – the takeout option ($75), a first-come, first-served waterfront seating option ($100) as well as a reserved table-for-six waterfront option ($720) – as well as raffles, prizes for the most Parrot-Headed table and couple, tropical drinks, a swag-filled gift bag as well as the sale of lottery tickets for a $50,000 custom kitchen renovation, Marcy-Smids said she is expecting the community to once again step forward and support the organization, which has like all other non-profit organizations had to pivot in order to provide services for its clients for the duration of the pandemic.
“Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious issues and there’s not a lot of fun with it, but people are still living their lives and a lot of our clients who are in the early stages of it want to have fun too. So we think it will be a fun event for everybody,” she said.
“We’re about 58 per cent funded by Home and Community Care Support Services (formerly Local Health Integration Networks) so these fundraisers are vital for us,” Marcy-Smids continued. “They help support several services we offer, including support groups for each stage of dementia, for both the people who are living with dementia as well as the family members that are also dealing with the disease, because it can be a long, drawn-out disease. We also have one-on-one counselling, we have a system navigator who connects families to all services they may need during their journey and we have an education coordinator who provides education to the hospitals, doctor’s offices and trains EMTs, as well as our day program and…social-rec programs like Minds In Motion and Mindful Music.”
The gala takes place from 5 to 11 p.m. on Aug. 21. For more information about the Alzheimer Society’s third annual It’s Five O’Clock Dockside fundraiser or to purchase tickets, visit https://its5oclockdockside.eventbrite.com.