The first official fundraiser for the Okotoks Pickleball & Tennis Centre (OPTC) has been announced.

Okotoks' planned 44-thousand-square-foot complex will operate as a non-profit, and $10 million of its budget is being provided through fundraising efforts.

The upcoming fundraising event is being organized by Okotokians Rob and Sharon Tod, and is scheduled for August 8.

Sharon says she found pickleball at just the right time.

"I was newly retired from teaching, it was still in the COVID days, and I needed something to do that got me out of the house. Then I put Rob onto it. We just fell in love with the game. The fitness aspect of it, the social aspect of meeting people here in Okotoks, the wonderful people we met. And it's pretty economical."

At an open house event on May 13, OPTC president Ryan Sawatzky explained the $500,000 matching fund from Kirsten Anderson and David Keith, wherein individual donations to the OPTC will be doubled.

Sharon says that applies to the August 8 event.

"Let's say we raise $10,000 it's going to be $30,000 thanks to this lovely family that is matching the donations by double up until the end of this year."

The Tods, being from Manitoba, are planning the event in the style of an "old-time Manitoba social."

Rob says that will include music and a silent auction. 

"We've got Jay Burns, a local musician from Okotoks. He's fantastic, plays all types of music. We've got a DJ that's going to fill in between Jay's sets, and we've gone out into the community and got a tonne of silent auction items that range from great things you can have in your house to highly-priced pickleball paddles."

Businesses like Tom's House of Pizza, D'Arcy Ranch Golf, The Naughty Grape, and RE/MAX have contributed items to the auction, with more likely to come.

For Rob, it's another sign of the high level of local support for the initiative.

The event is being held at the Foothills Centennial Centre on August 8 from 7 p.m. to midnight, and tickets are available on the OPTC website.

Pickleball eventImage via Facebook.