The Welsh Family (Pete, Francine, Brendan and Eilish) held their 8th annual "Bash in the Backyard for FARA" fundraiser on Friday, August 8th. The event was designed by the hosts to convey the need for FA research, but with a party atmosphere. Pete’s skills from his days as president of the Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity in college lent to the “beer bash” theme. Francine throws her business skills and expertise into the mix and gets area businesses, family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers involved to make this a true community event. They were blessed with perfect weather and even the "Supermoon" showed up for the event! They had close to 200 guests at the event this year which has been held every year in the Welsh's back yard. Guests this year included some from as far as Florida! The Welshes do infringe a bit on their very generous and hospitable neighbors' back yards as well. The yards are scattered with party tents, chairs, candles, party lights and surrounded by twinkling luminaries.
The FARA team were once again in attendance at the event (do these people ever sleep?!!). Present from FARA was Felicia DeRosa, Kyle Bryant and Evelyn Wu. This was pretty amazing considering they’d just returned from Ride Ataxia Seattle earlier in the week! They really don’t have any idea what a “day off” means. The evening begins at the Registration table manned proficiently by Eilish Welsh. She's the perfect greeter and her organization skills help start the guest's evenings off in party mode! Next, is the raffle table, which encompasses the tickets for both the 50/50 and the wonderful prizes donated by generous businesses, family members and friends. This year there were close to 100 items in the raffle. Gifts range from themed gift baskets, gift certificates (some of which included a night at a local Bed and Breakfast in Harrisburg called City House, a teeth whitening session valued over $500 from dentists Shirley and Ditty, and dinner at one of the best area restaurants – Char’s at Tracy Mansion), jewelry, handmade items and autographed sports memorabilia! The raffle table is expertly managed by neighbor Aubrey Juris.
From there, guests are invited to sample appetizers provided by Outback Steakhouse in Mechanicsburg, PA. This year’s menu included shrimp, steak, chicken AND Caesar salad! This company certainly knows what it means to be “good neighbors”. The volunteer spirit of Outback Steakhouse is evident as they help to create awareness for FARA and build area communities! In addition to the Aussie appetizers, the family also vends (it IS a fundraiser!) soft pretzels, wine (provided graciously by Barefoot Wine and Bubbly), grilled hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs. These were grilled to perfection this year by neighbor Mike Williams! In addition to the free appetizers are the snacks and beverages, sponsored by The Wild Tomato Pizzeria and Catering, which include water, soda, malt beverages, and of course beer. Water and soda are donated by Classic Dry Cleaners and Pepsi Bottling Company and the food and snacks come from gift cards donated by Karns Quality Foods, GIANT, Wegmans and Costco. This year marked the first (and hopefully not the last) appearance of the beer party cart from Glenn Miller Beer and Soda Warehouse, which was stocked with kegs from their business, but also included a keg donated by Victory Brewing Company. The tasty “Headwaters Pale Ale” was a wonderful addition to the party!
The party gets into full gear due to the wonderful music provided by the local band "Brothers Unaware". This year Patrick and Neil delighted everyone with their musical talents. They’ve generously donated those talents to the event each year and they’ve developed quite a fan base among the attendees. And speaking of donations, the winner of this year’s 50/50 drawing (Kathy Galida) graciously donated her entire winnings to FARA!! The highlight of the evening was the address given by host Pete Welsh, flanked by his family, to thank all those that were involved in the event through their generosity, thoughtfulness, energy, creativity, and support for the cause that means so much to their family. They are truly humbled by the outpouring of support they receive to host this event. Next to speak was Brendan Welsh. Brendan’s hair is now past his shoulders as he closes in on the last inches he needs to be able to donate his curly mop to “Locks for Love”! There were not many dry eyes as he finished his address to everyone as recalled his thoughts and feelings about how the event made him feel when it first started eight years ago until now. He is a true inspiration and it is easy to see why everyone loves him so very much!
The current tabulation shows the family raised over $22,000 for FARA and hopefully as additional donations trickle in, that will be even higher! The Welsh family thanks all of those that were involved in making this event possible. It takes all of you to make this happen. Together we will cure FA!!