Inaugural high tea fundraiser raises money for Kagawong’s outdoor rink

Several guests from Ohio enjoyed their afternoon at Carter House in Kagawong.

KAGAWONG – Approximately 60 guests attended the inaugural Silver Skates High Tea fundraiser for Kagawong’s outdoor rink. The event, hosted by Kelly Thibault at the Carter House Bed and Breakfast in Kagawong, also featured live ambient music from local harpist, Karen, and a silent auction.

The first sitting at noon was attended by 37 Red Hat ladies, all wearing red and purple hats. The second seating was initially booked for 29 guests but four were unable to attend. When she decided to hold the fundraiser, Ms. Thibault expected maybe 25 people would want to attend. “I didn’t even really advertise it,” she said. “It sold out so quickly. There’s definitely a lot of interest in this and I will be having more.”

Earlier this year, Billings Township council passed a motion to allow its parks, recreation and wellness committee to fundraise for continued improvements to the Kagawong outdoor rink. There was a tremendous response from users, other residents and members of the business community. 

“I just moved here so I don’t want to talk about being a youth growing up on Manitoulin and skating but skating was important to me. It was one of the things I enjoyed doing in the winter. It was a huge part of my life when I was a teenager,” said Ms. Thibault. “Even my daughter, who lives in Little Current, and her friends came here or went to Mindemoya this past winter. Little Current doesn’t have an outdoor rink.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Little Current does have an outdoor rink, which is located on the tennis courts outside of the rec centre in the winter months.)

When she heard the call for donations, she wanted to help. It eventually led to the idea of a high tea, which may just be the first one held on the Island. “It’s not actually a high tea,” Ms. Thibault said. “The time is wrong so it should be called an afternoon tea. In England, high tea was between 6:30 pm and 7 pm because they eat later, but our society doesn’t eat at eight o’clock at night.”

The Carter House provided a suitable backdrop for the tables covered in white linen scattered throughout the yard. Tea was served in matching china while harp music played softly in the background. The tea featured three courses including finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and finally, mini cheesecakes, tarts and cakes for dessert. 

“I thought a fun event would be better than just giving money so this is the result,” Ms. Thibault said. There were 12 people working the tea, including some student volunteers who will get community service hours towards their high school requirement. The tea was provided by Sharon Alkenbrack’s Manitoulin Tea Company.

“We had a lovely first season at Carter House Bed and Breakfast,” she added. “We were very lucky to have lots of local businesses refer to us and also established B and B operators on the Island referred their overflow to us. I’m very grateful.” 

The Silver Skates High Tea was a way to get to know more people in Kagawong, have fun and raise funds for a good cause.