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Ceilidh Night gives musical touch to fundraiser by the Wellesley & District Lions Club

The Wellesley & District Lions Club is welcoming the community to shake off the January blues and come out for a night of Scottish music, dancing and food.

This will be the second year the service club has hosted a Ceilidh Night in Wellesley Village. It’s not a major fundraiser, rather it’s an event intended to bring together people in the community.

“Our goal is having fun together because so many new people from outside Wellesley are inside of town because of this subdivision development,” said organizer Mariko Koebel.

She says it’s a chance for the community to get to know each other and it’s a family friendly night out. The Wellesley Community Centre was packed last year as some 300 people attended.

“We had lots of fun last year. I saw a grandpa and a grandma dancing with their grandkids. That was fun to watch,” Koebel said.

They’re selling 250 tickets for the event this year in order to leave more space for dancing. Koebel encourages new residents to check out the event and see what Wellesley is all about. She’s also ensuring it’s an inclusive event by providing free tickets to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.

“I recognize some low-income people live in Wellesley too. I wanted to invite everyone in here, it doesn’t matter if you have money or not,” Koebel said.

Fellow Lions Club member Jen Sommer explains it can be expensive for a family to go out or for even parents to go out between dinner, tickets to an event and a babysitter. For the ceilidh they’re selling family tickets for $20 and it doesn’t matter how big the family is.

“We want to recognize that we’re an inclusive community. It doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status, you should be able to take your kids out to a community event, the same as we have funds available for kids that want to play hockey locally. It’s the same idea, the Lions Club contributes to the hockey fund as well just to make sure nobody is limited in opportunity because of funds,” Sommer said.

The idea for the ceilidh night came at one of their bi-annual music nights. They crossed paths with Stephen and Ellen Todd. Stephen plays in a Celtic band, Failte, and Ellen is a caller. The couple helped the Lions Club plan the event the first year and Stephen’s band will be performing at this year’s event.

“I think Ellen called two songs and the dance floor was packed,” Sommer said.

Sommer said it was such a success they decided to make it an annual event.

“She was amazed at how many people got up and danced. Both Ellen and Stephen said they’re never had such participation at a ceilidh before,” Sommer said.

There will be live Scottish and Irish folk music provided by Celtic band Failte, as well as dance lessons, snacks, drinks and a contest for the best kilt and tartan.

“This is a great way to see what the community’s about, to see the spirit of the community, to see the inclusivity of the community, and to meet your local service club, meet your local volunteers, get involved if you want to and just come out for a great family fun night.”

Tickets are available in Wellesley Village at Pym’s Village Market and Esso & Town Barker, as well as by calling Mariko Koebel at 519-656-9374. Tickets are $20 for a family, $10 for adults, and $5 for those 18 and under or 65 and older.

The Wellesley & District Lions Club’s Ceilidh Night is Jan. 21 at the Wellesley Community Centre from 7-10 p.m., with the doors opening 20 minutes prior.

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