The Niantic Rotary Club held their 29th annual Gala & Raffle on Saturday evening at the Marriott Hotel in Groton Connecticut.
Over 200 attendees enjoyed this fast moving fun event that featured a robust silent auction, a lively live auction, a ‘heads & tails’ 50/50 event, lively music, dancing, a delicious ‘surf & turf’ meal, a mega raffle with over $6,000 in prizes, great friends and fabulous fellowship.
The Niantic Rotary Club also awarded a Paul Harris Fellow and recognized Outstanding Community Service.
While loaded with many activities this night flew by quickly and 4 hours elapsed in snap as everything was so well organized that each activity seamlessly transitioned or overlapped with others. The Gala Committee did an excellent job of organizing and executing this very special event.
Desiree Bassett was the guest speaker at the Niantic Rotary Club on Wednesday 11/27, the day before Thanksgiving. She talked about her musical career and her world-wide current tour with Cirque Du Soleil, she answered questions by the Niantic Rotarians and then played a song that she wrote.
Desiree, now 21 years old, has been playing guitar since she was 3 years old and has been performing professionally for over the past 10 years including performances with Sammy Hagar, Slash, The Marshall Tucker Band, with members of the Allman Brothers Band, Ted Nugent and more.
President Dan Cunningham kicked off the year with the Magical Mystery Tour and Desiree’s visit fits in nicely with that. President Dan is a music enthusiast and a life-ling guitar player himself, his guitar hero is Jimi Hendrix.
President Dan noted that you have arrived when you have your own Wikipedia page as Desiree does. He went on to note that he looked up his name on Wikipedia and to see that it was occupied by a Chocolate maker.
Desiree has performed with Sammy Hagar, Slash, The Marshall Tucker Band, with members of the Allman Brothers Band, Ted Nugent and more.
Search in Youtube for Desiree Bassett to view dozens of her performances.
Due to space restrictions this program is only open to members and guests of the Niantic Rotary Club and visiting Rotarians. Please email Niantic Rotary President Dan Cunningham if you are planning on attending.
The Niantic Rotary Club enjoys one of the best lunches in D7980, no Rotary Chicken on this menu. They meet each Wednesday at Flander’s Fish Market & Restaurant in East Lyme CT.
President Dan kicked off the year in a very forward looking way by introducing his club to the Magical Mystery Tour, which is one of dinner themes at the Groton District Conference this coming May.
The club has about 40 dedicated and hardworking members that run fundraisers and work on projects that benefit their community. Club leadership is looking to expand into a global project this year by possibly partnering with other nearby Rotary clubs on a Solar Panel project.
The club holds three significant fund-raisers each year: The Niantic Rotary Gala; the Niantic Rotary Golf Tournament, and the Niantic Rotary food booth during Celebrate East Lyme.
Some of the beneficiaries of Niantic ROTARY fund-raising efforts include:
The ROTARY Foundation (humanitarian and educational programs)
The ROTARY Foundation (polio eradication )
Haitian Health Foundation
Niantic Main Street
Third grade Dictionary Program
Student of the month luncheons for selected East Lyme high-school students
$5,000 in scholarships to East Lyme high-school graduating seniors
Middle school essay contest for students in East Lyme, Salem and Lyme/Old Lyme
Middle school citizenship prizes
Serviceperson of the month luncheon each July
ELHS Interact Club
Care and Share
Friends of Smith Harris
Hospice Southeast Connecticut
New London Food Center
Sub Vets Association
EL Light Parade
EL Holiday Stroll
Make a Difference Day
In addition to the fundraisers and charities the club did the following significant community projects during the past several years:
Placed a four-sided clock on Main Street in what is called the Rotary Crossing. The Rotary International Logo is on all four faces of the clock and the Four-Way Test is around the base. The clock is lighted and has chimes and music available.
Donated a portion of its funds to the improvement of the playscape at McCook’s Park.
Donated a portion of its funds to the erection of an electronic sign to be placed at Flanders Four Corners.
Donated a portion of its funds to the erection of an electronic sign at the entrance to East Lyme High School.
The Niantic Rotary Club is a medium sized club with an EXTRA LARGE heart!!! They do amazing things, are never satisfied with the status quo and are always looking to improve. Case in point….President Dan working to revamp the way that the Interact club is operating.
A visitor to this club can’t go wrong. Great meal choices, great fellowship and a welcoming crowd (Having a YELLOW hard hat to hold the happy bucks was a nice touch today!!). Put this one on your ‘Rotary Bucket List’ and visit them at some point for lunch on Wednesdays.
If you still need convincing then remember that the Niantic Rotary Club is Susan Wheelers home club!!! I know that Susan will see this as she always reads to the end.