Big Brothers Big Sisters, TNW partnering on fundraiser

Big Brothers Big Sisters is partnering with Theatre NorthWest to host Gin Blossom: A Speakeasy as a fundraiser where guests will vote for the People's Choice for best gin cocktail during an evening soiree held at the theatre Jan. 18.

The organizers have invited six community leaders to act as bartenders who will present their signature cocktail to guests. Each bar tender will have an assistant and Theatre NorthWest will provide costumes, creatively make use of their set designer to match the mood at the venue to the event and guests are encouraged to wear 1920s era costumes if they so choose.

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The partnership sees Theatre NorthWest provide the venue while Big Brothers Big Sisters has the vehicles to offer a safe ride home to those who need one.

"We thought it would be a great way for us to partner to raise some money," Marnie Hamagami, general manager of Theatre NorthWest, said. "We really wanted to go after the younger crowd, we're looking to engage people who are just learning to be corporate donors and sponsors and how can we put together an event that's going to appeal to a slightly younger group and start that process of this is how you get involved with our organizations - you start by buying tickets to some of our events and then maybe become a donor, a sponsor, a volunteer, a ticket buyer, whatever the progression looks like for each individual."

Tim Bennett, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, said the non-profit was looking for something a little different to do as a fundraiser and this kind of event certainly fits into that criteria.

"It's a great complement to what we already do as an organization but will bring something new to the community as well," Bennett said. "What we have seen over our many years of fundraising is that people are looking for things they can do together with their friends, with their co-workers."

Although the event will be a fun taste-testing, the prize money for the creators of the top two most popular drinks as chosen by guests' votes will see $500 go to the first place winner's registered charity of choice and $200 to the second place winner's chosen charity.

One of the bartenders is Haylee Seiter, a communications team member at Northern Health.

"I did Boogie with the Stars with Tim back in the new year and I like doing different community events," Seiter said. "If you can provide a really fun experience where people feel good and have fun and then are able to have that giving aspect as well, I think that's where you get those really awesome fun events that are really successful so I'm really excited for all those elements."

Seiter said she's been enjoying pink gin cocktails during the summer and will be experimenting with that for her signature cocktail.

"So I'm thinking really girlie over the top, but not so much as to detract the guys - they can taste it too," Seiter said. "There's no shame in that."

"I like pink drinks," Bennett laughed.

Seiter offered a couple of hints for her upcoming creation, which will be showcased at the Gin Blossom Speakeasy.

"I like to add herbal elements to it," she said. And there could be a bit of bling coming into the cocktail as well.

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend," Seiter smiled. "That's what I'm thinking and I will say nothing more."

Everyone is welcome to attend the event to experience Seiter's fancy gin cocktail while challenging the other bar tenders to get creative as well.

Tickets are $60 each, which includes admission to the event, two drink tickets and a safe ride home. Additional drink tickets will also be available to guests throughout the evening. Tickets are on sale at

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