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Plymouth 400 Committee’s first fundraiser’s a sell out

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PLYMOUTH —Call it the spirit of 2020.
If the Plymouth 400 Committee was looking for the perfect metaphor to sum up the challenge it faces and the goal it envisions, it was right there before them: a pale, almost amber-colored, serving of MacKinlay’s “Old and Rare” whisky.
It was just one of eight whisky’s of varying age and demeanor that participants in the 400 committee’s first official fundraising event were offered as part of a whisky tasting dinner organized by Pioppis Liquors and held at the RooBar. Along with appetizers and dinner, guests were also treated to the songs and witticisms of Scottish raconteur Sir Jeremy Bell.
It was one of eight whiskies, but its nose, taste and story was – even compared to the other expensive distillations offered – nothing short of remarkable.
In 1907, famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton personally selected a whisky to help sustain his British Antarctic Expedition.
The original bottles were labeled the “Endurance expedition,” but the expedition actually sailed south onboard a ship named the Nimrod.
After they set up a base camp at Cape Royds along the coast of Antarctica, Shackleton and his men ultimately failed to reach the South Pole. But when they sailed for home in March 1909, they left three crates of whisky buried in the ice.
A hundred years later, as archaeologists painstakingly excavated Shackleton’s camp, they discovered that whisky, deep in the frozen tundra, many of the bottles still cushioned in their original paper and straw wrapping.
Ten bottles were eventually salvaged intact and one of those was sent to Scotland, where a master distiller – whose nose is insured for millions – was able to identify the original ingredients.
Using many of the same whiskies, the same copper stills and the same Orkney peat, they were able to re-create a whisky that had not touched human lips for 100 years.
And there it was at the RooBar, the perfect metaphor, glistening in the glass.
That is the challenge facing the Plymouth 400 Committee – to somehow excavate the past and then re-create the spirit of 1620 in a way that will make it accessible to more than just a few local historians.
Somehow the 400 Committee has to locate the spirit of 1620, identify its ingredients, and distill it anew.
It’s a start
Of course, on this evening at least, metaphors were not on the menu.
It was like many fundraisers, a good time with a few necessary interruptions.

Plymouth 400 Committee President Ken Tavares spoke briefly, mainly to say thanks to Peter Balboni of Pioppi’s for organizing the event.
Senate President Therese Murray spoke, too, again thanking Pioppi’s, and reminding the audience that they had a long, difficult road ahead of them as they prepared for the anniversary.
Then the whiskies were uncovered and Sir Jeremy Bell –accompanying himself on a squeeze box (he also played the fiddle and the bagpipes) – began a sing-along (and drink-along) to the tune “For Tonight, Merry Merry We Will Be.”
Close to 90 tickets were sold for this event, filling up one entire side of the RooBar and resulting in a check to the 400 Committee for $3,500.
Raffle tickets sold during the evening added another $1,500 to the donation.
It was a very pleasant evening and – under normal circumstances – it would have been a very successful fundraiser.
But if the committee held 20 of these events a year, it would raise only $100,000.
That’s another metaphor.
It was a sellout and a great time, but the money raised was, literally, “a drop in the bucket.”
If you’re interested in volunteering, sponsoring an event or becoming a community partner, call the Plymouth 400 at 800-830-1620 or send an email to

Read more: Plymouth 400 Committee’s first fundraiser’s a sell out – Plymouth, MA – Wicked Local Plymouth…

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