By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — It’s tea time at the Robert Fulton Community Center and this time around it’s got an Irish twist.
At 1 p.m. Saturday guests are invited to join the Early American Crafters at the Luck of the Irish tea event aimed to raise money for a new golf cart at Heritage Canyon.
Although the Luck of the Irish tea is not one of the Early American Crafters biggest fundraising events, they are hoping to cut into a $2,000 balance for the handicapped accessibility needed at the canyon.
“A couple years ago we were doing teas quite regularly but we got a little burnt out,” event organizer Catherine Gravert said. “We were debating whether or not to do it but we need another, about $2,000, so we decided to give it a shot.”
For $10 apiece, visitors can sample a variety of Irish snacks including blarney stones as well as enjoy authentic Irish tea in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. There also will be a chance to try a hand at Irish bingo and take home a few door prizes.
In addition to games and activities, the tea time also will host a silent auction with an array of items to be bid on by guests.
While Gravert doesn’t expect the event will raise the $2,000 needed to purchase the desired six passenger golf cat that would provide transport to elderly and handicapped people to the canyon floor, she is predicting it will at least generate some supporters.
“I don’t think we’ll raise it all at this event so, slowly we’ll chug along doing fundraisers,” Gravert said. “We have a few more ideas we’ve been working on but we are hoping this will at least put the word out for donations.”
So far, the Crafters have already raised approximately $3,000 for the new golf cart, which they hope they can purchase in time for Fulton’s Dutch Days celebration, but they have had difficulty advertising their events and fundraising opportunities
After taking the short hiatus from hosting the tea parties, Gravert said the group lost its way a little with organizing the community gatherings.
“We found out that we were sorely lacking in the advertising department,” Gravert said. “It’s a learning curve, we’re learning about the school of hard knocks, but we’re getting there.”
Whether they are able to raise the money before Dutch Days is a concern for the Early American Crafters but the dire need for the mode of transportation is something that will not cease.
The current model that Heritage Canyon utilizes seats four passengers and continues to lose functionality and reliability. Gravert said it no longer maintains its battery life for a whole day and presents more of a problem than a solution.
She added that if Heritage Canyon is going to maintain its accessibility to those who have trouble walking down the hill to the base of the canyon, they need an upgrade.
“If we’re going to say that we have the use of the golf cart for people, then we need to make sure we have something that’s reliable,” Gravert said.