An event new to Salmon Arm kicked off with a bang and raised plenty of money that will go to the Shuswap Hospital Foundation.
The Bollywood Bang fundraising gala, held at the SASCU Rec Centre, brought the food, colourful clothing and danceable music of India to an excited crowd numbering in the hundreds on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Organizer Sunny Dhaliwal said a similar Bollywood Bang has been going on in Vernon for the past eight years, but interest in the brand new Salmon Arm edition defied expectations. Dhaliwal said tickets to the event sold out less than a day after going on sale and although some funds are still being tallied, it is clear that at least $170,000 was raised. Dhaliwal said most of the money is going to the hospital foundation but some will also go to the Daybreak Rotary Club in recognition of their assistance making the event happen.
Selecting the hospital foundation as the beneficiary of the fundraiser has personal significance for Dhaliwal and his family. He praised the care his sister Mandy Dhaliwal-Sumra received at the Salmon Arm hospital as she was fighting an illness that tragically proved fatal in 2012.
Dhaliwal said after years of attending and MC-ing the Vernon event he started organizing it for Salmon Arm alongside Mark Schneider from Jacobson Ford.
Efforts to have everyone looking the part for the gala succeeded; Dhaliwal said organizers were able to get ahold of more than 300 brightly-coloured outfits fit for an Indian prince or princess and sold them off ahead of the event. He said most people in attendance were dressed up.
Dinner was catered by Namaste and a silent and live auction was furnished with prizes from a generous array of local businesses.
Entertainment for the night was provided by the Sparkle Dance Academy who danced for the crowd and taught them some moves to match the bangra and western top 40 fusion soundtrack. Once they got dancing, Dhaliwal said it was very difficult to get people to stop.
“The dance floor did not empty until 1:30,” Dhaliwal said.
“We had to turn on the lights to get everyone to leave.”
Following the success of Salmon Arm’s first Bollywood Bang, Dhaliwal said they will certainly do it again next year.