The Fort Stockton Rotary Club is known for strengthening the community in many ways, but one function stands out and is already underway: the Cruise Party.
The Cruise Party brings people in the community together for a night of food, drinks, and dancing. At the end of the night, one lucky attendee wins the grand prize of a cruise voucher
According to Rotary Assistant Governor Misty Frank, the fundraiser began in 1979, but looked quite different.
“The Cadillac Party began in 1979, and the prize was a Cadillac,” Frank said. “In 1982, the prize changed to a Bronco and in 1983, the event was renamed the Cruise Party.”
A lot goes into making the party happen, and the local rotarians take care of it all.
“The event is held the fourth Saturday in September,” Frank explained. “500 tickets are sold for $50 apiece. The rotarians cook a gourmet meal, provide an open bar, and award a cruise voucher in the amount of $3,500 at the end of the evening. The winner may also opt to take the $2,500 in cash instead of the voucher.”
Franks stated that although the party has changed over the years, it is still the main source of FS Rotary’s operating funds.
So where does the money from the party go?
Rotary President Angie Miles said that the funds are directed both locally and to outside causes.
“On a local level, the monies from the Cruise Party are what we use to fund our local community projects,” Miles said. “These include flowers for the nursing home, items necessary to facilitate the toy drive at Christmas, along with community improvements.”
Miles said that some of the improvements they’ve worked on in the past have included covering park picnic tables to allow for shade, and, most recently, landscaping for the Girl Scout Hut.
“These projects are made possible through matching grants from our local District Level Rotary,” Miles said.
Franks listed other projects that the funds help, including Camp RYLA, a leadership camp, Intermediate School Fifth Grade Cook-Off, Student/Teacher of the six weeks donations to the SEED Foundation, and the Four-Way Test essay contest.
This year, as they do most years, the Rotary funds are also going toward the important societal issue of eradicating polio worldwide through the Polio Plus foundation.
“Our operating budget comes from the Cruise Party and membership dues,” Frank said. “We provide a donation to Polio Plus every year through Rotary International.”
According to Frank, polio is still active in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. With the help of Rotary’s donations, Polio Plus hopes to eradicate the disease within the next few years.
This year’s Cruise Party is scheduled for Sept. 23, and will once again feature music, a Rotarian cooked meal, an open bar, and one lucky cruise winner.