The local Rotary clubs, Oakdale and Sunrise, have teamed up again, only this time they're offering a chance to get in on the "Vacation of a Lifetime" fundraiser aimed at raising funds to purchase an Open Air Cinema for the community.
The fundraiser, modeled after the wildly successful Soroptimist fundraiser "Motor Madness" has the two clubs selling raffle tickets for an event Saturday, May 23 at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. where one lucky winner will receive a $15,000 travel voucher to the travel agent of their choice to enjoy a "Vacation of a Lifetime."
Only 400 tickets will be sold, at $100 each, which makes the odds of winning more favorable but there are no limitations on how the travel voucher must be spent. This is not a pre-packaged vacation plan. The winner makes all the decisions of when, where, and who they go with. The winner also chooses the travel agent so they are in total control from the planning to the final day of fun.
Here's another kicker: the winner can take as many people as he or she wants. Split up the vacation, share it, or whatever floats your boat. When they say total control, they mean it.
"We tried to make this thing as easy as possible," said Scott Abell, Oakdale Rotary President. "And let imagination be the key word here."
The idea for the Open Air Cinema, which costs around $17,000, was bounced around almost a year ago as a source of free entertainment for the community but the cost was prohibitive.
When the clubs approached the city manager, looking for a community project, the portable cinema was immediately tossed into the idea pool.
Parks and Recreation Direction Cheryl Bolin was pleased when the decision was made to raise funds for the cinema.
"The Rotary clubs have done a great job with this fundraiser. They were thinking outside of the box on this one," she said.
"Both of our clubs were looking to better the community and this was a good choice," said Jon Mutoza, Oakdale Sunrise Rotary Club President-Elect. "We've discovered that two clubs are better than one."
Jerry Jones, president-elect for the Oakdale Rotary Club said of the decision to purchase an Open Air Cinema to host free movie nights, "We're really pleased with this. A free event would enhance everyone's quality of life."
Bolin agreed, saying, "Free family functions strengthen the family unit and anyone can participate, young or old. I think it's going to be great."
The cinema is fully portable, requiring only a small truck to transport, and comes with its own projection and sound system. The size the clubs will be purchasing is a 20 by 11 feet screen - a size big enough to provide good viewing but not too big that it's impossible to find a spot for it.
The goal is to provide fun, free family entertainment in the form of movies in the park and part of the stipulation for the clubs' involvement was to ensure that the movies are offered fee of charge to the community.
"We want to make it an experience instead of just going to the movies," Bolin said, sharing her department's vision for the cinema. "We want to make it more of an event with a theme, such as Beach Night or Western Night."
Bolin was also adamant that they would not be in competition with the movie theater in town, saying it was unlikely they would show first-run movies.
It all sounds like a great plan, but first, people need to buy those tickets.
Bolin is confident the tickets will sell.
"I believe the rotary clubs will reach their goal. Oakdale is a very civic-minded community and I think they'll be happy to contribute to this great cause."
To purchase a raffle ticket and to be eligible to win a "Vacation of a Lifetime" contact a Sunrise Rotary or Oakdale Rotary Club member.
By Kim Van Meter