July 30, 2020REGION — Having a 24-hour event in a packed bar can't happen under the current circumstances, but the organizers of Pub Mania are putting together a new event that goes beyond the walls of Patrick's Pub and Eatery with the hope it will bring in more teams and more money.
This year's Pub Mania will become It's For the Kids Community Challenge, a remote event focusing on all the different teams raising as much as they can. This year's event will go beyond the format of having one person per team at a bar stool for 24 hours, allowing for more people to participate and potentially more opportunities to raise money for the Children's Auction.
Patrick's Pub and Eatery Co-owner and Pub Mania co-founder Allen Beetle said as the pandemic set in it became obvious this year's Pub Mania couldn't continue as usual.
"It's just weird how the events of the pandemic unfolded at first," Beetle said. "As a business owner, you're like, 'Oh my God we're closed the day before St. Patrick's Day,' maybe by May, maybe by June you just don't know."
He said asinfections continued and it became clear a vaccine would probably not be available until well into 2021, it became more obvious that they wouldn't be ready to have a packed bar for Pub Mania by December. Last year, they raised more than $355,000 and Beetle said those organizations need money even more now.
It's For the Kids will continue to rely on the fundraising each team does throughout the year, only this year aiming to expand the options.
Beetle said Pub Mania has been known as the "24-hour barstool challenge," though 90 percent of the fundraising has been done during the year. Different teams will do their own fundraisers from a week before the event to throughout the year including yard sales, bake sales, music or comedy nights, golf tournaments, calling customers and vendors and asking for donations, and many others.
Beetle said the community challenge will expand the fundraising options for Pub Mania.
Fundraising for Pub Mania goes through the GiveGab online fundraising platform and those involved with Pub Mania learn how to use it. Money raised for this year's event will continue to go through that program and new possibilities with the new event. Beetle said the organizers will work with teams and members to come up with new ideas to raise money. They also work with the teams on how to deposit any offline donations into the Pub Mania account at any Meredith Village Savings Bank Branch
Beetle said they have tried to make Pub Mania a fun event for everyone involved and they are continuing that aim this year.
It's For the Kids Community Challenge will culminate with a special closing event on Dec. 10 in downtown Laconia, which is aimed at being a safe event for everyone no matter what the situation is with the virus.
Last year the average Pub Mania team raised $7,500, this year teams have a goal of raising at least $2,500. This goal can include each team contributing one auction item to the Children's Auction.
So far, he said it looks like they have almost all of the original teams onboard. The goal is for 60 teams to be part of this.
Tony Felch, the captain for the Cafe Deja Vu team and a board member for the Children's Auction, said Beetle contacted him in June about the new concept.
"I think it's going to be a good concept," Felch said. "It's going to take a bit to get people used to it. I think it's going to work out in the long run. We can definitely have more teams and hopefully raise more money."
He said the goal is always to raise $1 more than the previous year and he hopes they can come close to the goals they've had in the past.
The Cafe Deja Vu team has been working already to raise money, including doing some raffles and brainstorming some more ideas. He said fundraising has been difficult with the pandemic and he said he knew other teams were working with the circumstances.
Children's Auction chair Jamie Sousa said she loves the concept of the community challenge. She said Allen and Jennifer Beetle and the rest of the Pub Mania team agreed with her that given the increased need this year's auction has to go on somehow.
"I think it's awesome it goes to show how much the community is invested in Pub Mania and the Children's Auction," Sousa said. "When Allen first approached me with the idea I knew the teams would get behind him."
Sousa said she knew Pub Mania was never a 24-hour event, now this new event has the opportunity to go even further.
"I am thrilled but not surprised because the teams have always been in it for the right reasons," Sousa said. "I honestly can't wait to see who else jumps on board. I think it's a great opportunity to extend beyond the Laconia, Gilford area where it has been most concentrated."