Sunday, January 31, 2016

Operation Red Nose Beach Party

In late January, Lesli Green (President & Founder, Operation Red Nose Sudbury) organizes a party for all the volunteers that worked for the cause during the preceding holiday season. Because it is held in the dead of winter, the theme is Beach Party.


Lesli, friends and students decorate the common area at NORCAT with lights, Tiki bars and summery things. A hot buffet and entertainment are provided. The amount of work is prodigious.

There was a wrinkle this year. Rick Watt, the head honcho of the Belleville/Quinte Red Nose program decided that he would like to attend. He would be arriving by plane early Friday afternoon while Lesli and crew were decorating. I agreed to meet him at the airport and take him to the Hampton Inn at the south end.

Our plan was to take Rick out for supper as an opportunity to get to know each other and discuss Red Nose methods. The idea of sharing strategies and tactics is always good and usually leads to adopting some best practices.

Because Lesli never gets to unwind and have a few drinks, Sandy and I went and picked her up at her home in Lively. We then collected Rick at the Hampton and headed to the Tap House Grill & Pub on Regent Street. The food was good and the company was convivial. Later, Lesli's daughter Molly, who is home from her studies at Texas A&M arrived with her Texan boyfriend in tow. She had driven to Toronto (via North Bay due to a Highway 69 closure) to pick him up at the airport and treated him to a dandy Northern Ontario snowstorm on the way back.

Rick Watt and Leslie Green at the TapHouse Grill

Sandy, Lesli and Rick

I am sober.  Really!!!!


Sandy and I met Lesli and Rick at Perkins Restaurant for breakfast. After we ate, Lesli headed for NORCAT to finish the party preparations. Rick and I dropped Sandy off at home and then I took him for a driving tour of the Sudbury Basin while discussing Operation Red Nose procedures in our respective areas.

As we were completing the loop, Lesli phoned to ask if we could pick up some ice on our way back. The cubes were easy but I guess blocks of ice are not that popular in mid-winter. It took a while to find them. Then I took Rick back to his hotel to prepare and ran some errands before picking him up again. We picked up another volunteer and Sandy on our way back to NORCAT.

The beach party was a costume event. Sandy brought both our outfits including Crocs, shorts, tie-dyed Route 66 shirts (thanks, Sherm) and pukka shell necklaces from our Hawaiian trip all those years ago. Sandy was wearing a parrot head cap borrowed from a friend and I was wearing my uncle's old straw hat, complete with ostrich feather.

Sandy looking very summery

The Freedom Riders were out in force. I was proud to be a member after the way that they supported the program this year. Solid commitment to our community by solid citizens who like to play on two wheels.

It was a non-alcohol party. This was felt to be right because the optics of serving booze at Red Nose was thought to be less than pristine. The buffet largely came from the Caruso Club and made up for the lack of adult beverages. There was more than enough for the 100 or so assembled guests. After supper, Past Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Champion (and Freedom Rider) Paul Lemelin and his wife entertained the crowd. Then they had prizes. Guess who won best costumes?

Best Costume Winners

Red Nose Mascot Rudy The Reindeer

Hall decorations

We had our cake and ate it too

The party wound up around 9:00 PM. Lesli, Rick, Molly and her boyfriend headed for the Trevi Tavern with some of the NORCAT staff to unwind while Sandy and I went home.


I went and collected Rick at the Hampton Inn and delivered him to the airport. Then I picked Sandy up and we went over to NORCAT where we assisted a bit with the tear down. The swim club students, though, had it generally under control so we eventually wandered back home.

Students cleaning up on Sunday

A lot of effort goes into this party but Lesli feels it is necessary to recognize all the time put in by the volunteers during the season. I know we appreciated it. For most, this will end their association with Operation Red Nose until the call for volunteers goes out again next fall.

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