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Jason Blaine hosts a night with the stars in Pembroke

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

After nearly two years of planning, the first annual Jason Blaine Night With the Stars has exploded onto the scene.

After 500 people attended a stellar concert and meal event held last night at the Pembroke Memorial Centre, featuring Blaine on stage with Gord Bamford, the reigning Canadian Country Music Award vocalist of the year among many other honours, and Kira Isabella, the reigning female vocalist of the year, the trio were "auctioned off" as golf partners for the second half of this epic fundraiser, a round of golf at the Pembroke Golf Club, which gets underway today at 12:30 p.m. This event is already sold out, with 148 golfers expected to hit the greens.

The evening also featured special guests such as Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray and former Canadian Forces sniper and Amazing Race finalist Jody Mitic. Other notables taking part in the event included Jesse Winchester of the Florida Panthers and Olympic bobsledder Cody Sorensen.

Blaine said he is excited to see his charitable tournament come to life after so much work by so many.

"This has been a labour of love of nearly two years in the making," he said. "I'm super excited the day is here."

He thanked his "amazing committee" for all of its hard work in making this happen, and said as an Algonquin College graduate, he is proud to be able to support the college for his first-ever event. The country star also thanked major sponsors Eastway and Star 96, everyone who donated items for the silent auction, and those who came out to make this such a special occasion.

"I'm really, really thrilled to have both Gord and Kira here," Blaine said, as well as others who took the time out to attend his inaugural event.

The Pembroke native was inspired by a similar golf and concert event hosted by Bamford, who lives in Alberta. He said his event is modelled after that fundraiser.

"I always felt I wanted to give the gift of music I've been blessed with back to my community," Blaine said.

Bamford said it is a pleasure to come out to Ontario, a province in which he is fond of performing. He said he came out to support Blaine in part because he has supported his tournament for a number of years.

"It was nice to return the favour," he said.

Marianne Minns, fundraising co-ordinator for the event, said the committee is all thrilled with the response, with the golf tournament and sponsorships being sold out.

"We're already looking forward to 2015, when this will be bigger and better," she said.

Jamie Bramburger, manager of community and student affairs for Algonquin College who is also on the committee, said Blaine is an incredible talent, and this event has had a huge response from the community and businesses alike by their support.

"As much as he's given back, the community is giving back to him in return for giving to his home town," he said.

All proceeds will go towards The Jason Blaine Charitable Fund, which will be administered by the Pembroke and Petawawa District Community Foundation. This year's recipients of the donations will be the Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley's capital campaign and the Pembroke and Area Boys and Girls Club.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

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