By Samantha Johnson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Organizers added 10 extra tables for the second annual Turf to Tarmac, a HALO charity gala, bring the total to 36 – and it still sold out.
“An incredible leap forward for us,” stated CEO Paul Carolan. “Certainly, there is lots of support and interest in attending the event. It is one of the most unique events in town, trying to marry up that black tie formal with Western formal wear and a gala in a hangar. It really suits HALO because we have an urban presence and we definitely have a rural presence, and it really does a good job at representing the local support.”
Donated food created the menu, starting with a fig and prosciutto salad. The following courses consisted of roasted pork belly served on sweet potato puree, Pancetta gnocchi served with a brown butter rosemary sauce, braised Alberta short rib with garlic mashed potatoes and a double chocolate sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Each course was paired with a beverage from local breweries and distilleries.
“It’s a really cool partnership, we had over 30 individual partners and sponsors that make it possible,” said Carolan.
Tyler Joe Miller was the surprise Canadian country music artist who performed at the gala. Miller was a CCMA award nominee in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and has been consistently on the charts since his debut album in 2019.
“We are fortunate to have a good relationship with his label and management team,” explained Carolan.
The weather co-operated for the Sept. 29 event with temperatures reaching higher than predicted.
“That’s always a challenge with the hangar because we are at the mercy of the temperature,” said Carolan. “September is perfect because even if it’s warm, it cools off enough at night that the hangar isn’t too warm. If we keep an eye on the door, we can balance the temperature.”
New this year at Turf to Tarmac was a HALO observation deck at the edge of the hangar. Appetizers and cocktails were served while guests watched Cpt. Ryan Shrives fly the HALO helicopter over the hangar before coming in for landing. Even though it was drizzling at that time, the temperature was still warm and many guests were out on the deck mingling and enjoying the experience. The South Alberta Pipes and Drums band donated its time and were on the tarmac for the landing and then marched the helicopter into the hangar. Shrives and his wife attend the gala and he had to briefly leave to change out of his flight suit and into formal wear before rejoining the event.
HALO has an annual budget of approximately $3.54 million, and Turf to Tarmac raised more than $98,000 this year – funds that will keep HALO in the air serving local communities.
In less than a month HALO’s In Flight For Your Life dinner and auction will take place at Seven Persons Community Hall. Tickets are $100 per person for the Nov. 3 event and doors open at 5 p.m. For more information, go to haloairambulance.com/events.