Jason Blaine Celebrity Charity Golf Classic returns to Pembroke
PEMBROKE, ONT. -- Over the last year and a half, Canadian country music star Jason Blaine has played more golf than music.
The Pembroke native hasn't returned home in more than two years due to the pandemic, but returned to the valley Wednesday to bring back his annual Jason Blaine Celebrity Charity Golf Classic.
"It was heartbreaking having to cancel our event last year," Blaine tells CTV News Ottawa. "I can't tell you how excited I am."
Being held at the Pembroke Golf Club, this year is the seventh instalment of the fundraiser, which normally takes place over a two-day span. Blaine altered his usual plans in order to make sure his event didn't get called off for a second year.
"This is a one-day event this year, golf and music all in one shot," said Blaine. "We got one day to get it right, and thank God the weather is beautiful, and everybody came out and stuck with us. So I'm just so thankful."
This year's event featured a golf tournament in the afternoon followed by an evening concert by Blaine himself, who also brought along Canadian country artists Aaron Pritchett, River Town Saints, Kelly Prescott, Elyse Saunders, and Brian John Harwood.
"I think it's great for the community to have that sort of moral booster, and especially given what's happened over the last year and a half plus," said Pritchett, who was auctioned off to join a golf team along with Blaine to raise money. "I'm just happy to be a part of it all."
"We've been very fortunate to do just over $500,000 over six years of having this event," said Blaine. "I don't know what my expectations are tonight. I just really want to have a great event, and hopefully we raise a decent amount of money for the charities we support here in town."
One of those organizations who has benefitted from the golf classic over a number of years is BGC Pembroke.
"What a gift Jason is to the community. Not only to Pembroke and area but throughout the valley, he's a very generous and giving person," says Rhodina Turner, the executive director at BGC Pembroke. Turner adds that the event returning this year provides a huge boost to their programming, which relies heavily on donations.
"We have a music program, the Jason Blaine music program," says Turner. "We have guitar lessons, piano lessons. The last four years he has donated $25,000 to BGC Pembroke and like I said, we've been very fortunate to be one of the benefactors."
Despite being auctioned off for four figures each, the artists know where they shine most is on the stage rather than the course.
"Well, I say my handicap is actually my swing," laughed Pritchett. "I think it's more about the hang, I just love hanging out and having fun with people."
"I've actually had nothing but time to golf in the past year and a half," added Blaine. "And I have been trying to improve my game, so I'll be embarrassed if it's not a little bit better than it was two years ago."
UPDATE: The 2021 Jason Blaine Celebrity Charity Golf Classic raised over $87,000 for local charitable initiatives.