Fundraiser a fun event

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

In the hip vernacular of yesteryear, last night's Never Alone Social at Canad Inns Stadium was a Happening.

More than 3,000 fans were still wandering into the stadium even as the first half of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers-Tiger-Cats match in Hamilton was ending. They watched a wildly entertaining CFL match and enjoyed pre- and post-game concerts.

"This is a unique idea that suits Winnipeg because we have various different festivals and this is support for cancer research," said Jason Rindall, 34, who was sitting in a lawn chair with a cup of beer in the holder as Men in Kilts played. "It just goes to show the attitude that Winnipeggers have when it comes to supporting various causes.

"I'm going to watch the game on the Jumbotron with lots of fans and it's going to be a wonderful time. I'm thinking this is going to be a great time to look back on in winter because I'm always going to remember this day -- cheering on the Bombers in the stadium when they're on a road game and sitting on the same field that they play on."

Also on the schedule were a Free Ride concert and post-game fireworks, although rain threatened to put a damper on festivities.

Whole family

"It's a great opportunity to bring the family out to watch a game that you might otherwise miss on TV," said Jeff Greggain, 45, whose young son and his friends were off "entertaining themselves" during the first half.

"It's a good idea," said Janelle Tarnopoloski, 26. "It's great for the whole family to come down. It beats the hell out of staying home.

"I think they should do it more often, absolutely. I don't know why they've never anything like this before."

For each $15.50 ticket sold, $5 went to CancerCare Manitoba.

"Certainly, there are several thousand people out here and they've all pulled in their blankets, their chairs and are sitting down to watch the football game," said Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer, who has battled throat cancer. "The football game is something we can't control. But what we can control is the fun the people have once they are here. So, it's a great event for the football club and also something that is close to many, many of our hearts and that's the Never Alone program in support of CancerCare."

And yes, it could become an annual event.

"We'll take a look at it," Bauer said. "We've already had people say we should do this every year. This is a fabulous start and I have to thank everybody who is involved and who supported it."


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