Melfort Fire hosting 70th Wing Ding as virtual raffle

MELFORT — Due to the pandemic, the Melfort Fire Department is unable to hold the whole Wing Ding event, but will hold a raffle during the now 70-year-old fundraiser.

The Wing Ding is traditionally an all-day family Bingo event, which serves as the largest annual fundraiser for the local department.

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This year would have been Shaun Stewart’s first Wing Ding, since taking the role of fire chief in the community. Traditionally, the chief is responsible for drawing the Bingo numbers.

“We were disappointed that we couldn’t hold it, but we waited as long as we possibly could before we decided, ‘No, we can’t do it,’” Stewart said.

“It’s not in the best interest of us, and being seen in the public as doing everything we can to prevent the spread from happening.”

Stewart said it wasn’t until Remembrance Day that the department made that call that they couldn’t plausibly safely hold the event.

“We decided to have the raffle to have the tradition keep going and not stop,” he said.

“We had lots of people asking about it, what we were doing, because it’s something they look forward to taking part in. So this is the best way we would be able to continue on with it.”

Tickets will be drawn on Dec. 19 through Facebook Live, with the prizes being a basket of “traditional Wing Ding goodies” such as turkeys, hams, oranges, chocolates and more.

Each ticket is five dollars and can be purchased through e-transfer to firehall@melfort.ca. Twenty baskets will be drawn, each valued at $100.

“We’re really not worried about that this year – how much comes in over how much doesn’t come in, to tell you the truth. Everybody has had a rough year, and it’s just something that people were phoning and asking about, so this is what we put together for it.”

Stewart said the department is hoping next year things return to pre-pandemic conditions, and the Wing Ding can resume.

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