Lighting up local charities’ lives 

What: Gala Festival of Lights

Where: Chateau Whistler

When: Saturday, Nov. 30

"All I want for Christmas is a new X-ray machine," asked the Whistler Health Care Centre, and thanks to the Gala Festival of Lights dinner this Saturday night, they might just get it.

Organized by the Association of Whistler Realtors, the popular dinner dance and auction is in its 12th year, filling Sea to Sky charities’ stockings with much needed moola.

Originally the Festival of Lights was known as a chance for local businesses to spruce up Christmas-style in time for the U.S. thanksgiving weekend tourist trade. The gala dinner was the flagship event. This year, however, the lighting part has faded away as most people prefer to work to their own decoration schedule.

Not to worry, the gala dinner and live auction were the main reason behind the event anyway, raising $50,000 to $70,000 for local charities each year.

Festival treasurer, Mike Wintemute, said it’s time to dig out the fabulous frocks, or suit and tie combo for a good cause.

"This is one of the only events left in Whistler where local business operators get to dress up and socialize before their busy season."

Items up for auction this year include a hot tub, a trip to Vegas, snowboards, ski gear, gourmet gift baskets and dinners at local restaurants.

The major chosen charity usually receives $25,000 from the festival. Other valley charities, like WAG, the Spring Creek School, St. John Ambulance, the Whistler Scout Group, Zero Ceiling and Whistler Adaptive Ski Program, among others, will also benefit.

Tickets are $95 and include dinner, wine and the 10-piece jazz band Top City, who guarantee to get all the black tied guests grooving.

See any good Whistler realtor for more details.

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