What is a Manitoba Social?
A social is a particularly Manitoba-grown concept. It's a fundraising party, often for a wedding, charitable or community organization. Usually held at a community centre or a Legion hall, it can be known as a "Manitoba Social", "Winnipeg Social", "Wedding Social", "Fundraising Social", or just simply a "Social".
When it is run for a wedding it is traditionally run by the wedding party, although it is sometimes run by the bride and groom. A wedding social gives people a way to include friends and relatives in the wedding when you could not invite them, and allows friends and family to support the couple financially for their new life together.
Common features of the Manitoba Social are:
When a social is held at a hall, the alcohol will be cheaper than at bars, but more expensive than from the Liquor Commission. For socials held in halls, expect budget beers like Kokanee, Bud, MGD and Labatt, and for hard liquor, you will usually find one (cheap) brand of each of rye, dark rum, white rum, and vodka.
Traditionally this includes kubasa (a kind of sausage), other luncheon meats, rye bread, pickles and cheese. It is also common to see either ethnic home-made food, or food that can be easily ordered in, like pizza or wings. The food is brought out buffet-style around midnight. You'll also usually find each table stocked with some chips or pretzels throughout the evening.
Music and Dancing
The music runs all evening, and by the end just about everyone has spent some time on the dance floor. Certain songs have gained traction as Social songs, such as "Cotton-Eyed Joe", "Boot Scootin' Boogie" and "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)", although often as the evening progresses the music will switch to dance and Top 40.
If it is a Wedding Social, the DJ will usually play a song for the bride and groom only as well as a song for the wedding party.
Raffle and 50-50 Draws
Socials are fundraisers, and will have all kinds of prize draws to enter. There will be a table near the entrance selling draw tickets, as well as helpers that will sell tickets at your table.
Expect prize draws for the tables full of prize package at the back of the hall, as well as a 50/50 draw, and sometimes a "Perfume Draw" which can net you a Texas Mickey of Rye. There is usually at least one Grand Prize of a big ticket item, such as a mini fridge, video game console or high definition TV.
Usually at least part of the prizes will have been donated by local companies, so expect a lot of gift certificates.
Draws are held at the end of the evening, often around 11pm or midnight.
Social tickets are sold person to person, and they are around $10. Your ticket gets you into the social, and will usually include entry in a door prize draw.
If you are going to attend a Social, you should:
- Get your ticket in advance; don't forget to bring it with you.
- Bring cash for liquor and draws. It's a fundraising event, be prepared to spend money.
- If you plan to drink, plan a safe ride home.
- Be dressed for dancing!