If you enjoy Irish music, dancing and food, the "Salute to St. Patrick's Day" is a must-see for you.
The salute is a Queen Street Dinner Theatre production which will take place 6:30 p.m. on March 13-15 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Grand Falls-Windsor.
"The purpose of the event, the proceeds from the event, we are trying to raise some $40,000 to start our summer season," said Artistic Producer John Thompson, adding they are going into their 15th summer season. "This particular event will help us realize that goal, I hope."
The Irish evening of music and dance features Mill Road, Deb Power, and others.
"In conjugation with the performance and trying to make it a real Irish experience, we've invited the Celtic Spirit Dancers to come as one of our guest performers," Thompson said.
Since the Celtic Spirit Dancers are also in fundraising mode for an upcoming trip to Ireland, Thompson said they will be paid for their performance time as well.
"Really keeping it in the spirit, they are going to be helping us serve the meals and so on and so forth, so it's going to be a real Irish celebration," Thompson said.
"It's really nice that the Celtic Spirit Dancers are coming to do this with us, I am absolutely elated, and everybody I talk to are absolutely elated that they are coming to do it because it's going to add such a nice touch to the entire evening, along with the tomfoolery and all the great music that they are going to hear."
There will be a number of Irish tunes, and Mill Road is putting together some new music and some new arrangements especially for this show.
One of the songs that will be familiar to many people is "The Unicorn Song," which Thompson said was written by children's author Shel Silverstein, but made famous by the Irish Rovers while living and performing in Canada.
The three-course meal will also have an Irish flavour.
The appetizer is a fresh dinner roll and lush Irish spring garden salad with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing, Thompson said.
For the entree, they will be serving roast beef covered in a red wine gravy, dressed Irish potatoes with sour cream and chives, carrots, turnip and green peas.
And for dessert, the audience will enjoy a creamy cheesecake square topped with a Baileys Irish Cream whipped topping, and tea of coffee.
"It's going to be a very fun evening, a very Irish evening," Thompson said. "Fun will be had by all."
All the necessary information is available online at www.andco.nf.ca, Thompson said.
"They can do all kinds of wonderful things on our site," he said. "They can even purchase there tickets for individual shows online if they can't get into the Legion to buy them or if they don't want to call and give out their credit card numbers over the phone."
People can purchase tickets at the Royal Canadian Legion, Grand Falls-Windsor, or by calling 1-877-822-7469.
Tickets went on sale on Wednesday, Feb. 8 for $42.50 (hst included) each.
Thompson said they have always had to raise a large amount of money before starting a new summer season, and ticket prices are mostly driven by commodity prices.
"This year we need $40,000 - $30,000 for operating costs and $10,000 so we can actually buy some new carpeting and some new wireless microphones," Thompson said. The $30,000 for operating has to come first.
"The amount of money we receive for student grants and so on and so forth only cover 38 per cent of what we actually spend in student salaries so we have to cover it off somehow. That goes a long way in doing it."
The money raised goes a long way in preparing for the season, such as purchasing costumes and music, he said.
"But in the end, we'll tell you that 90 per cent of the money that we raise through sponsors goes to pay for students," Thompson said. "Do you know why we are where we are right now with all this fundraising? It's quite simple. Things have gone absolutely bananas over the past number of years."
Thompson said in the past five years, the minimum wages has gone up 67 per cent. On top of that, the group's food costs have gone up as well.
"Our food costs and our staples alone, and the things we serve, like our fish, that went up by 38 per cent in the past 24 months," Thompson said. "Potatoes are gone up by about 27 per cent.
"People wonder why we have to charge $42 plus tax at the door for a summer show. That's it. There's the reason. That's certainly one of them. It's not getting any easier to run this thing, simply because the costs are getting a little overwhelming. This is why we have to raise more money to do the things we need to do."
Thompson added they can't thank their corporate sponsors enough, some of which have been with them since the beginning 15 years ago.
"When it comes to corporate sponsors there is only one thing we really need, more of them to help us raise the money we need because without corporate sponsors, this thing would not, and I'll underline not, exist," Thompson said.
In addition to corporate sponsors who are a vital part of what they do, he added, other sponsors including Service Canada and the Department of Advanced Education and Skills also play a key role in the success of the project each year.