Written by: Ashlea Veldhoen, Community & Development Coordinator
HAT wrapped up International Bat Week with our Big Bat Bash – a one of a kind art-meets-science celebration of bats and nature conservation in Metchosin. The big event combined HAT’s annual fundraiser dinner with all things batty in an effort to raise funds for our habitat conservation projects in Metchosin and throughout the Capital Regional District. The event was sponsored by the Metchosin Foundation, Vancity, and the Metchosin Community Hall, who generously donated the cost of the hall rental to HAT.
Read more about International Bat Week here.
Upon entry to the Hall, guests were greeted by HAT friends & volunteers Jenny and Wouter. (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
Looking up, were dazzled by an array of intricate wire bats hanging just above their heads. Created by artist Estraven Lupino-Smith, the bats were generously sponsored by the CRD Arts Grant and CFUV FM, who supported this event from its very early stages.
Estraven's intricate hand-made wire bats hung just above the heads of guests. (Photos: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
In the Bat Cave, an amazing audio and visual marvel by local artist Estraven Lupino-Smith, Bat Bash guests experienced bats like they never have before. On the stage at the end of the hall, the curtains were closed to create a dark, cave-like atmosphere, and digitally enhanced recordings of bat echolocation were played alongside video of the Metchosin Hall’s very own bats flying against the twilit sky behind the hall. The sounds were an entrancing and perhaps a little spooky series of deep reverberating pops that we hope our guests won’t soon forget.
Our silent auction featured amazing gifts from generous local artists, artisans and businesses from across the CRD. Among some of our most popular silent auction items were our round-trip vacation to Seattle, Self-Care Packages including massages from CloverCare massage in Sooke and Atman Massage Therapy in Metchosin, Metchosin Jazzercise passes, and a stay at Wildergarden Covehouse.
14th Juan de Fuca Scouts leading the bat-themed craft table, where guests donated $5 to paint a bat cut-out in their own style! (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
All of the bat designs were so creative! Some guests left their designs to be installed on the fence outside the Metchosin Community Hall. (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
Parks Canada helped guests better understand their batty neighbours with a wonderfully fun bat-themed trivia wheel! (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
The 14th Juan de Fuca Scout group were fundamental to the success of this event as well, with leaders Yvonne and Curtis Becker, the Scouts raised $255 for the bats at the Metchosin Community Hall by selling wooden bat cut-outs – graciously made by inmates at the William Head Institution – for guests to decorate at the event. The bat cut-outs will be installed on the fence behind the Metchosin Community Hall, so keep your eyes open for them in the next few weeks! Parks Canada joined in the batty fun with a bat trivia wheel and doling out candy to guests that could give them correct answers to trivia questions.
EmCee for the night, HAT supporter Andy MacKinnon did a wonderful job welcoming and encouraging guests to participate in the silent auction and raffle to support HAT’s programs. (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
From Left to Right - Brennan Smith, Jill Robinson on guitar, Euan Thomson and Karen Lithgow form The Copper Lights . (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
Estraven had their own table where they sold prints, t-shirts and other amazing gifts. (Photo: W. Tyrrell, 2018)
Glow-in-the-dark bat pins designed by Estraven Lupino-Smith. The same bat was used on our event advertising. Bat Pins can be purchased for $10 at the HAT Office. Funds go towards our stewardship programs. Get yours while supplies last. (Photos: A. Veldhoen, 2018).
At 5 pm the fundraiser dinner began, and, dressed as an adorable bat, our EmCee Andy MacKinnon welcomed guests and shared some kind words about HAT. Andy then graciously welcomed our musical guests the Copper Lights (Jill Robinson, Brennan Smith, Euan Thompson and Karen Lithgow), who donated their time and musical talents to our event. The band kept spirits high with beautiful music and created a lovely ambience for our dinner guests.
Dinner guests lining up for delicious food. (Photo: A.Veldhoen, 2018)
Dinner was a delicious combination of locally produced foods. Waste-free cheese and crackers were provided by the Zero Waste Emporium. Our guests lined up along the length of the hall in anticipation for a fresh barbecue dinner from Jones’s Bar-B-Que with both meat-lover and vegetarian options including smoked chicken, pulled pork and Portobello mushrooms. HAT staff and volunteers worked hard to make sure the experience was a real treat for guests. HAT volunteer Jemma Green and friend Daniela Lucchitti spoiled volunteers once again this year with their famous bat cookies, as well!
HAT Volunteer & Past Bat Coordinator, Ali Jones with bat cookie. (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
HAT Volunteer, Bob Addley with bat cookie. (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
Kitchen volunteers served up a the mains along with sides of baked beans from the Metchosin SIRC, mac n’ cheese from Bubby Rose's, coleslaw from the Market Stores and buns and desserts from Portofino and Royal Bay Bakery made this dinner a dream for barbecue lovers. Guests enjoyed a selection of beer courtesy of Phillips Brewery and other choice wine and beer selections from the Winemaker’s House, Lighthouse Brewery and Vancouver Island Brewery from Spinnakers Spirit Merchants.
Bat Bash Kitchen Helpers (Photo: A. Veldhoen, 2018)
Habitat Stewardship Coordinator, Paige Erickson-McGee (right, in bat head costume) and Executive Director, Katie Blake (left) were interviewed at the event by Shalu Mehta from the Goldstream Gazette! Read their exciting coverage here.
Thank you to everyone who came together in celebration of Metchosin's bats and HAT's work for bats across the CRD at our Big Bat Bash. In total we had over 300 guests, sold 60 dinners, raffled 6 amazing gifts, auctioned off 20 fantastic packages donated from local artists, artisans and businesses from across the region and raised over $4,000 for our programs!
Special thanks to Elizabeth Easton for planning and helping run the set-up procedures; Karen Mann for planning and leading the kitchen efforts; to the Copper Lights for musical entertainmen; Jill Robinson for musical entertainment and planning support; to Katie Blake for her monumental efforts in securing such delicious food and drinks. And a huge thank you to all of the committee, HAT staff and HAT Board of Directors for helping secure donations for the silent auction!
And a warm thank you goes to our event artists:
who not only designed the image for our Big Bat Bash poster, but also created the popular glow in the dark bat pins, a hanging wire bat display but also the Bat Cave experience.
both a volunteer and a contributor to the Big Bat Bash, creating these lovely colouring sheets for children to enjoy at the event and helped in the arrangement of the silent auction items.
And to Wilson Tutube,
a local Nuu-chah-nulth artist who contributed his talents to the silent auction, painting a beautiful bat in his own design on one of HAT’s rocket boxes, donating a bat print and creating a unique bat head costume to use in HAT’s batty programs. Premier Horgan hangs one of Wilson's prints in his office. Read more here.
Thank you to our volunteers, donors, sponsors and planning committee, whose participation and effort made this event sparkle!