When Kate Flaherty moved back to New Hampshire from Massachusetts in 2015, she was drawn back into the fold by her longtime friends at Patrick’s as a volunteer for the Pub Mania Shuffle and the Pub Mania event itself.
These days, Kate’s face is often the first one that new members of Pub Mania teams see when they arrive in the pub parking lot to Shuffle on a Wednesday evening in the spring or fall, and it’s Kate who offers the welcome and draws people in.
“Every time we do a Shuffle, we always meet new people; they come down because they’ve read about the event in the newspaper,” says Kate, who mans the ticket booth at the Shuffle along with fellow volunteers Jennifer Beetle, Jennifer Bailey, and Lisa Cornish.
Kate says they all enjoy telling Shufflers how the two-mile walk/run supports Pub Mania, which, in turn, provides a large portion of the proceeds for the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction. Last year, Pub Mania raised $303,630 and has raised over $1.6 million in its first nine years.
“Many people don’t know about Pub Mania or the Children’s Auction,” Kate says. “It’s always a conversation I have that starts with, “Did you know…? We love telling that story.”
This because the Pub Mania story is an exciting one.
Inspired by Laconia Athletic & Swim Club’s Cycle Mania, Patrick’s Co-Owner Allan Beetle first imagined the innovative, 24-hour barstool challenge nine years ago as a fundraiser for the Children’s Auction. A major community event held every December for over 33 years, the Children’s Auction provides grants to local nonprofits that help meet children’s basic needs and provide services and initiatives that improve their lives.
Fundraising by Pub Mania’s 33 teams is ongoing all year, bolstered by the Shuffle, which Patrick’s launched in the fall of 2013 to bring more fun and healthy competition into the mix and to keep the Pub Mania conversation going all year long.
This spring, the eight Wednesday Shuffles raised $9,020 for the 2018 Pub Mania event, bringing the five-year Shuffle total to over $52,000. The fall Shuffles will begin on September 5, the Wednesday after Labor Day. Come on down at 6 p.m. to meet Kate and check out what makes this event so special.
“What I have noticed is that the Shuffle gets people from different parts of the Lakes Region together, and our common goal is making this beautiful place even better and helping children who need our support,” Kate says.
Kate says everyone does the Shuffle differently. Some people make the $10 required donation and walk the two-plus-mile course that begins at Patrick’s, heads to the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, and winds back. Others run. And some people simply take their raffle and complimentary drink tickets into Patrick’s to have a drink and check out the menu and the specials.
“People can get what they want out of it,” Kate says, noting that after Allan has biked the course and made sure everyone made it back safely, Shufflers have their cocktail, usually with apps or dinner, and hope to win a Patrick’s Frisbee or sweatshirt in the raffle. “They give away good stuff.”
Pub Mania teams have fun competing in the Shuffle over how much money they are raising and how many team members show up to take part—just as they do in the 24-hour event.
Kate says her job as Shuffle ticket master is an easy one, but she does have to pay attention. “I have to give out three raffle tickets and one drink ticket to each person—and not the other way around,” she jokes.
The Shuffle has been around long enough that it’s become a tradition for many. It gives people in the community a chance to connect with one another while exercising and raising money to help people in need at the same time.
“One of the neat things is that many people bring their kids,” Kate says. “Some bring their children every week. It’s like we get to watch them grow up.”
She adds, “I’ve learned from Jennifer and Allan that fundraising can be a lot of fun. It doesn’t feel like work.”