Flushing Rotary Club cancels Beer Tent fundraiser

FLUSHING — Flushing Rotary Club members were looking forward to presenting a weekend of music and fellowship this fall with its annual Beer and Entertainment Tent fundraiser.

But with coronavirus concerns mounting, the Rotary Club has chosen to cancel the 2020 Beer Tent, which was scheduled for Sept. 18 and 19 at Flushing’s Riverview Park.

Marty Barta, the fundraising chair for the Flushing Rotary Club, said that members decided it would be better to cancel the event several months ahead of time than to test an uncertain public health situation in the fall.

“It saddens us to have to cancel this fun event, which brings together community members, business owners and Rotarians for two evenings of entertainment and friendship,” Barta said. “However, under the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, we cannot say with certainty what the situation will be by September for large, face-to-face gatherings.

“Additionally, we realize that our local businesses are being stretched beyond their means and that our community members are suffering from potential financial struggles,” Barta added. “It is not the right time to reach out to our faithful supporters and ask for donations.”

As the Rotary Club’s main fundraiser, the Rotary Beer Tent brings in around $20,000 to $25,000 a year through admission ticket sales, raffle ticket sales and sponsorships. Barta said that cancelling the event will put a crimp in the Rotary Club’s budget this year, forcing members to alter outreach project plans as well.

“Some projects will have to be rethought, and we will have to wait a year before we can do anything largescale,” she said. “There are some things that individual members can do, like helping out at Riverview Park or using their expertise to build something themselves.”

Meanwhile, the Rotary Club will be lending as much support as it can to its international Rotary projects. Recently, the chapter finished a grant application with Rotary International to finance a clean water project overseas.

Although the Beer Tent won’t be happening this year, Barta said that the Rotary Club is hoping to bring the event back and better than ever in the fall of 2021.

The 2019 Rotary Beer Tent, which was moved from June to September for the first time, drew large crowds and raised over $23,000. The event featured popular rock band Rachelle Rae & the Banned as the main entertainment and incorporated food trucks for the first time.