What started out three years ago as a New Year's Eve party to help out a 'Shaker's' wife and other people suffering from Crohn's Disease and Colitis, has evolved into a highly successful annual celebration now directed at benefitting a different 'worthwhile community cause' each year.
Bent on that mission, the West Fargo Shakers, a group of eight longtime friends - Joel Finn, Paul Finn, Jake Lauritsen, Brian Quam, Dewey Vinesett, Mike Migler, Jake Reese and Mitch Finn - are gearing up for their third annual event, Thursday, Dec. 31, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., at the Speedway Event Center, 680 W. Main Ave., West Fargo.
The recipient of this year's proceeds will be Hope, Inc., a local nonprofit organization, committed to assisting families with children who are physically and mentally challenged.
Originally founded by Jim Steinke in July of 1992 in Grand Forks, the mission of Hope, Inc. is to provide mobility, recreational and educational opportunities for children with physical and cognitive challenges, and their families.
The group relies on the generous donations of time, talent and treasures from volunteers who assist in a variety of areas, including mobility clinics, monthly social and recreational outings, office work, weekly wheelchair sports programs, and fundraising to help raise awareness and funding for the vital programs.
The organization is now based out of Moorhead and can be reached by calling 866-225-4673.
Members of the WF Shakers group are looking forward to this year's celebration which has turned into 'a labor of giving' and an event they look forward to planning with excitement and enthusiasm.
They begin their preparation by getting together in late summer to plan their strategy and decide on the nonprofit organization that will be the beneficiary of the proceeds.
Joel said that decision came easy this year. "Some of guys had heard about the great things Hope, Inc., does and we decided to select them. What makes it even more special is the proceeds will be going toward helping area children."
Here he offers up gratitude to all the wonderful individuals and businesses that have lent their support in the past and continue to do so for the 2009 observance.
"The past two years have been a great success," Joel said, "and we couldn't have done it without the help of our sponsors and everyone attending the event. Some people don't realize that buying a ticket doesn't just get you into the event. This money is going to a great cause and might even benefit someone they know in the F-M area."
The doors will open at 7 p.m., featuring complimentary appetizers served until 9 p.m., when Rhyme or Reason will take the stage, performing music from all genres until 2 a.m.
A variety of drink specials will be offered throughout the evening, and there will be drawings for door prizes starting at about 10 p.m., all donated by local businesses. Those attending will automatically be entered in the general raffle drawings with the purchase of a ticket. There will also be bonus raffle prize drawings which will require purchasing additional raffle tickets.
Among the general raffle prizes are: reserved tickets to the FM RedHawks, Healthy Glow mobile airbrush tanning sessions, State Bank & Trust Visa gift cards, and several Shakers Vodka Sample Packs.
Bonus raffle prizes will include: Minnesota Timberwolves, and Fargo Force tickets, autographed Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins memorabilia, a Minnesota Wild authentic jersey, as well as a variety of other items.
Last year, the Shakers raised $5040.00 for the Dorothy Day Food Pantry in Moorhead. They would like to topple those figures during this year's festivities, and on that note, are extending a personal invitation to anyone looking for something unique and exciting to participate in on New Year's Eve to come on out to the Speedway Event Center.
Since the party is limited to 550 tickets, those thinking about attending should consider purchasing their tickets ahead of time. Cost is $20 in advance, or $25 at the door, if there are any remaining. The ticket price will include the band, appetizers, and general raffle prize drawings, for which you need not be present to win.
Tickets are available by calling 298-7099 or e-mailing email@example.com and they can also be purchased at the Speedway Restaurant. For entire event details, visit their Web site at www.wfshakers.com.