Before we talk fights, raffle winners, or thank yous, let me tell you the best news any fundraiser could have: we exceeded our goal of $300 for The Tournament of Funding Banquet! In fact, we raised over $400! That's an incredible achievement for LANCE, and those funds will benefit us as we work toward getting safer equipment and our non-profit status. The Board is doing somersaults of joy, and we hope you are, too!
How did our night go? Let me paint you a picture.
Lady Penny (played by Connie), the Treasurer of the newly-formed Kingdom of LANCE, was our Master of Ceremonies. She called the fights and ran the raffle, and she made sure the rest of us were on our best behavior -- or at least the best behavior of which we were capable. She explained to our guests that we were all there to raise funds to arm the royal guard of LANCE castle, and the entrants in the tournament fought for the entertainment of our esteemed patrons and the chance at titles, lands, and glory in the new kingdom of LANCE.
There was Hazel the Hedgewitch (Mallory), who had come to the tournament with the hope of saving her beloved forest which fell right at the center of the kingdom of LANCE, and Eric the Green (Justin), a soothsayer who just wanted to save the bears. Then there was Sir Bruce (Ian) and Lady Honey (Casey), brother and sister from castle Gracin. Sir Bruce wanted to lead LANCE's army, and Lady Honey wanted nothing more than to ruin things her brother. Jack of all Trades (Charles) was there to barter his wares and with hopes of winning the trophy -- he'd heard it was free! Alysanne of Asheford Briar (Marissa) wanted to win to join the royal guard, and Warren the Blacksmith (Michael) was hoping to prove his steel worthy of the king's army. Hilary Harvestborn the Barmaid (Ari) joined the tournament for thrill of a good time, and Rosaline (Bethany), assassin and thief, was just there for the easy pickings (pockets, that is). Lady Edith (Amy) was a runaway royal eager to prove herself as an individual, and finally, Sir Gavin (AJ), the proud and chivalrous, was there to show all of us what a real knight is made of.
We were "randomly" paired up, and each duo fought well, but it all came down to Sir Bruce and Sir Gavin. By popular demand, Sir Bruce won the final fight though he gave up his rightful trophy (and presumably all claims to titles or lands) to Markus, co-owner of the Cloak & Blaster, to thank Cloak & Blaster for hosting the tournament. Markus had the trophy for all of five seconds before Andrea, the other co-owner, stole it and ran off into the bowels of the restaurant, never to be heard from again. Just kidding about the last part, but she really did steal the trophy, and it really was hilarious.
On to the raffle. We had several raffle winners throughout the night. As instructed by Lady Penny, patrons huzzahed as each raffle number was called until one final person was left cheering at their good luck. We raffled off LANCE decals and even a gift card, but the big winner of the night was Diana, the proud new owner of an engraved display broadsword. She seemed stoked, as evidenced by her glowing post on Facebook:
So... highlight of the year... I won a sword from a fundraiser to benefit L.A.N.C.E! They are such a great group of actors and fighters and they deserve every single bit of love and support. You guys were absolutely amazing tonight and the future is so bright for this organization!
Well, there's not much left to say now that the fights have been fought and the feast reduced to empty plates and glasses, but we do have a few final thank yous to dish out to people without whom the banquet would not have been possible. (Please bear with us while we gush.)
First, we would like to thank Charles, our tireless Treasurer and Fundraising Chair, who toiled over the minutest of details for this banquet to ensure it went off without a hitch. He handled everything from setting up the Eventbrite so that patrons could purchase their seats at the Royal Tables in advance all the way to signing off on every fight to make certain the stage combat lived up to LANCE's high standards. He labored over this event with the singular, purposeful drive of a full-speed freight train, and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for the stress and long nights he endured so that everyone at the banquet, LANCE members included, could simply relax and have a good time. It was worth it, Charles. We are so grateful.
Charles had help, of course, and we'd also like to take this time to recognize Mallory and AJ, both of whom helped with crafting the props for the show, like the flags and badges, that made audience participation effortlessly fun. AJ, Mallory, and other members of the Fundraising Committee all committed to the success of this event, and their hard work really paid off.
The second person we have to thank is Connie, who stepped in as our MC at the last minute and pulled it off with her usual charming smile and grace under pressure. She may not have had any idea what was going on, but she ran that show like a well-oiled machine, and you gotta respect that. Thank you, Connie, for taking time out of your busy schedule as a successful photographer to man the mic for our event. We tip our hat to you. Ya make it look easy.
The third group of people we'd like to thank is the wait staff, bartenders, kitchen staff, and owners of Cloak & Blaster. Thank you. Thank you to Markus and Andrea for taking us seriously when we said we wanted to throw a feast and tournament in the middle of their restaurant. Thank you for hosting us so graciously. You're the best. Thank you to the wait staff and bartenders for playing along, and for tending to patrons despite the slight possibility of sword-related injuries. Thank you to the kitchen staff for crafting such delicious food. All of our guests were raving about the food (especially the cake)! Everything was delicious. Thank you all for taking such pains to contribute to our fundraiser. We can't tell you how lucky we feel to have a partner like Cloak & Blaster.
The fourth and final group of people LANCE has to thank and without whom this feast would never have occurred is you. Yeah, you. Our patrons. Thank you so much for coming out. Thank you for sharing on Facebook even if you couldn't make it to the event. Thank you for cheering us on. Thank you for listening to us chatter excitedly about sword-fighting. Thank you for every kind word. We don't have fans; we have family. Thank you. Really, it means the world to us.
And on that note, I'm signing off. The banquet was a deeply satisfying success, and we at LANCE hope for more opportunities to entertain in the future that are as fulfilling as this one!
A health to the company!
-- Casey, Webmaster