The 16th edition of the Strangers in the Night Gourmet Gala, originally set to take place on Sat. June 20 at Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough Hall, has been postponed until sometime in September due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Founder Larry Day gave me the news today. He had already lined up iconic Canadian rock band Loverboy as headliners. To date the event has raised well more than $6 million for charity via the SITN Foundation. The 2020 beneficiaries will be Cure SMA , Lymphoma Canada and the Friends for Mental Health.
No less than 85 restaurants were to set up shop to serve their finest cuisine that evening. Right now anyone in the restaurant industry is in big trouble and there is no telling when they will reopen. Does that concern Day?
“That is the key and most important question,” he told me. “We are, like everyone, taking everything right now day to day. This is uncharted territory that we have never experienced before. As we move forward we will be in constant communication with our family of participating restaurants and sponsors and will ultimately make a final decision on a new date when we have beaten back the virus and things start to return to normal. A lot will depend on the financial shape everyone is in keeping in mind that the charities that we are raising funds for will be in even more need of funds after this is over. One thing is for sure, we will get through this together and when we do, we will be putting on Strangers in the Night to celebrate together. VOC day will happen. That’s VICTORY OVER COVID day.”
Day, of course, is a veteran character actor in movies and on TV shows. I asked him if someone gave him a script for a film about the type of pandemic that is currently pounding the world, would he find it far-fetched? “Actually not really,” he replied. “There was a movie done in 2011 by Steven Soderbergh called Contagion, which had a lot of aspects in it that are now a reality today. I watched it last week and it still plays really well today as it did nine years ago. It’s a very scary, chilling movie that has become a reality. The realty is always stranger than fiction.”
As for moving the date of his event to September, Day says “that was not part of the plan. We’ve done the event over the years in June, as well as August. The first year we did the event was on Sept 17. We planned for June this year to enable us to book Loverboy so moving it to the end of summer is not something new for us. However, it was a very difficult decision to postpone, but one we thought we had to take in the best interests of our guests, sponsors, volunteers and everyone else involved.”
Day is hopeful he can retain the same lineup of performers.