Skip to content

Pumpkins and Pearls Gala vows to boast WOW factor for charities

Bradford duo are driving forces behind new fall fundraiser in support of WOW-Living Bradford, A Hand Up Clothing Room, and the Out of the Cold Café

Looking for a great date night and a chance to help support local community organizations at the same time? Here is your opportunity to get dressed up, enjoy some good food, hit the dance floor, and do it all at a beautiful new banquet facility in Bradford.

On Saturday, Sept. 16 from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Cassidy Hilliard will be leading the first Annual Pumpkins and Pearls Gala in support of WOW-Living Bradford, A Hand Up Clothing Room, and the Out of the Cold Café. This event will be held at Chestnut Creek, which is located on Line 8 near the 5th Sideroad.  

“It’s a rare occasion for local attendees to dress up and enjoy a fun-filled evening at the property of Bradford’s newest venue, Chestnut Creek," said Hilliard. 

"Local chefs and caterers, such as, Zest Up Your Life Catering, will be serving up the best hors d’oeuvres for our cocktail hour to kick off the event while you enjoy the beautiful scenery this property has to offer. Afterwards, local chefs will be preparing a variety of amazing food on the many different live food stations for you to enjoy," she explained.

"Enjoy a few cocktails by Bradford’s very own Behind the Glass (Wedding and Event Staffing), as well as a beautiful photo-op created by Jen Feeney Events and Invitique.”

Not only will you get a great meal, you’ll get to burn off those calories on the dance floor, said Hilliard.

“Sit back and relax as the evening entertainment comes to life with an amazing DJ, silent auction, 50/50 draw and much more," she said. "Don’t worry, the dance floor will be open for you to let loose later on in the evening! A local ice cream truck will be arriving later on as well. We can’t give away all the surprises.”

There will be parking at the location a short distance from the banquet hall.  As a special feature, guests will be shuttled up from their parking location and brought by a horse-drawn carriage to the main area. 

Chestnut Creek offers a wide variety of activities, including feeding the alpacas and donkeys, Bocce, a smoking area by the campfire, and other amenities. 

It is a newly built timber facility with capacity for approximately 250 people, which Hilliard hopes to fill. For now, tickets are $100/person until Aug 18, and then $120 after that with sponsorship opportunities for local businesses. All of the proceeds go to the community groups.

WOW Living will be moving to their new facility in the fall and they need to raise $150,000 by Nov. 15, 2023 to prepare the new space with everything from electrical, plumbing and HVAC, to drywall and flooring and then rent for the coming months.  

Hilliard said she is glad to be able to volunteer her time raising funds for community groups.

“Ever since I was little, my dad was a Shriner, and he gave back to his community and the hospital all the time. I remember going to events when I was little, and being in awe of him and what he did for other people," she explained. "Not asking for recognition ... I fell in love with that and I have been doing this ever since I was old enough to plan events.”

Jacquie Ridout, who is a team leader with Out of the Cold Café, is helping Hilliard plan the event. Ridout was one of the organization's original volunteers and she continues to serve in various capacities with the organization. 

“I’ve seen first-hand how the cafe and WOW Living have helped people. It's not a hand out, it's a hand up. To be involved with Cassidy in this fundraising event is amazing," Ridout explained.

Ridout began her volunteer involvement with Out of the Cold Newmarket, an overnight service in Newmarket. When she found out there was an Out of the Cold service starting in Bradford (in a BradfordToday article), she decided to join up, as she is a Bradford resident. 

“I have family who, in the past, have needed the support of an organization like WOW Living. Everyone has a story and I want to be someone who can listen," Ridout said.

Ridout is a familiar face every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Out of the Cold Café as she does her regular shift. She brings her expertise as a Paralegal to assist the patrons at the cafe. 

“I think they help me more than I help them sometimes," she said. "Just to see how they can come into the cafe feeling down, and then they say ‘you made my day, you made me smile’.  That makes me feel so good.”

Hilliard echoes Ridout’s comment.

“It's good for the soul, and for theirs as well.”

For information on purchasing tickets to the gala, contact Cassidy at [email protected]