A little fall of rain will not deter the Chatham Athletic Foundation (CAF) from having some fun and raising some money to support recreation and athletic efforts in town Saturday.
"We have tents and the party is rain or shine," Debra Mason of CAF said. "We're prepared for any kind of weather."
This year marks a change from CAF's usual fundraiser. In past years the nonprofit organization has held a gala event at the Madison Hotel, where attendees dressed in black tie and were known to rent cars to transport them to and from the event.
Earlier this year, CAF President Paul Ivans appealed to the Chatham Borough Council to let them hold their event within town limits. "We still want to ... have our event every September, but given the economy and the impact on friends and neighbors, we didn’t want to do a full gala," Ivans told Chatham Patch.
The council agreed to let CAF hold the fundraiser in Reasoner Park next to the gazebo, which Mason said will be "transformed" to allow for the festivities people have come to expect at the gala, including:
- a dance floor
- live music from the band Undisputed, which also played at of last year's CAF gala
- a beer truck
- an open bar, featuring a mixologist and specialty martini bar
Food and liquor for the event were given through the generosity of several Chatham businesses, including Charley's Aunt, The River Grille, Chatham Bakery and Pascarella Bros. Pizza Vita of Summit also donated their mobile brick oven pizza truck for the event.
Main Street Wine Cellars of Madison sold wine to CAF at a reduced price for the fundraiser, and Peerless Beverage and Crescent Beverage Companies of Union donated beer.
"We also had contributions from folks in town famous for their barbeque," Mason said. "It's going to be a really fun event."
The silent auction will not return this year, but Mason said, "We do have a fun 'game of chance' with some really great prizes, like a trip to Disney and an Apple package."
Dress for this year's event is casual, and Mason said people can wear their jeans if they wish.
Parking will be available at the NJ Transit Chatham Station, and just in case you should have too much to drink, CAF has contracted Safe Rides to provide sober service back to your front door, no reservation necessary.
As the 300 tickets sold for the event, CAF needed a larger space than just the park. Firehouse Plaza will be closed off between Fairmount Avenue and South Passaic Avenue to accommodate the crowd, and off-duty police officers will be present to ensure everyone's safety.
"We've got plenty of room for more," Mason said.
Tickets for the event are $100 per person and may be purchased at the door. All attendants must be 21 or over. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday.