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Oct. 15, 2021 | Friday
Local News
Rotary Club rocks for 25 years
Patrick MacNeill, co-chair of NOTL Rotary Club with Jolanta Janny, Rotary Club member prepare for the Rotary Rocks 25th Anniversary celebration on July 30. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club will celebrate 25 years of rocking for the community, both locally and internationally, on July 30 at Queen’s Royal Park.

The Rotary Rocks 25th anniversary picnic celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. is open to Rotary Club members, as well as friends and supporters of the club.

It’s an opportunity for Rotarians and friends to celebrate without a fundraising goal leading the event, which member of the 25th Anniversary Organizing Committee Jolanta Janny said doesn’t happen often.

“The Rotary Club is a service club, so if we join Rotary it is expected of us that we will be working toward bettering the community, locally and internationally,” she said, noting the club has always been big on fundraising.

In the last 15 years, Janny said the club has raised $1.2 million for the organizations it supports, such as Red Roof Retreat and Wellspring Niagara locally, and international programs such as the Gift of Life Foundation and ShelterBox Canada.

Janny said the club doesn’t have records for the amount raised from 1994 to 2003.

The Rotary Club also donated money to the town to install the rock steps along the front of the gazebo at the Queen’s Royal Park. The “amphitheatre” was built to reinforce the area.

Choosing that park as the setting for the picnic wasn’t an accident, she said.

“It is significant for us not only because it’s a beautiful spot, very picturesque. But also last year we donated money to the town so they would be able to reinforce this,” she said.

That donation was also a part of the club’s 25th anniversary celebration.

“There were some rocks, but we looked at it and said, ‘We can make this much nicer,’ and we did. So, we donated money to the town, they fixed it, and we call it Rotary Rocks,” Janny said.

Patrick MacNeill, co-chair of the club, said Rotary focuses its international fundraising efforts on six target goals: peace and conflict prevention and resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy and economic and community development.

MacNeill said the fundraising is what makes the NOTL Rotary Club such a vital part of the community, and one of the reasons the club has so much support.

“Over those 25 years, we’ve raised more than $1.2 million through different fundraisers, including the Holiday House Tour and Canada Day in Simcoe Park, and different things we’ve done over the years. We have an Icewine Festival and so on,” he said.

Janny said the name of the picnic is just one way to showcase the efforts of the club.

“Why is it Rotary Rocks? Not only because we put a pile of rocks down, but it’s because we actually rock! We are a very vibrant club. We work really hard fundraising through our major fundraisers,” she said.

The picnic gives members and supporters a chance for a casual celebration, Janny said.

Tickets are $150 per table of six. The park, filled with 50 picnic tables seating six people each and covered in Rotary blue and gold tablecloths, will provide the setting for the evening picnic in the park. Local band By Design will provide live entertainment before a firework display at sundown.

Attendees are encouraged to bring whatever they would like to eat, and beer and wine provided by supporters of the event, Big Head Winery, Strewn Winery and Oast House Brewery, can be purchased in advance.

Tables are selling fast, but anyone interested in purchasing a spot can contact Howard Kudlats, co-chair and treasurer of the NOTL Rotary Club, at 905-468-2297, or by email at