By FOCUS REPORTER
It may be icy cold and wet out on the Vaal River, but the fourth annual Emerald Ice Block Challenge promises to be a truly heart-warming charity event with loads of fun, music, celebrities and heart-stopping boat-racing action.
The Emerald Ice Block Challenge, hosted by Vanderbijlpark’s Emerald Resort & Casino, takes place on the Vaal River on 24 July. A full day of racing action is planned, with inflatable boat, hardbottom boat and Jetski races over several distances.
A highlight of the day will be a special celebrity boat race, sponsored by Sensation Boats and NCS Resins, featuring the likes of rocker Bok van Blerk, actresses Hanna Grobler, Rolanda Marais and Nadia Valvekens, actors Hannes Muller, Hannes Brummer, Hennie Jacobs, Hykie Berg and Karl Thaning, economist Dawie Roodt, TV presenter Carla van Niekerk, singer/songwriter Wouter van de Venter, opera singer Kevin Leo, singers Pieter Smith, Wynand and Cheree, and celebrity TV couple Riaan and Michelle Garforth-Venter.
Inbetween all the races, spectators will be entertained by an exciting line-up of musicians, including Jan Botes, Erika Tolmay, Lize Lee, Andre Uit Die Heupe Uit, Rudi Meiring, Natasja Jacobs, Annie Brandt, Willem van der Ryst and Zander van Wyk.
The Emerald Ice Block Challenge will be complemented by a star-studded charity fundraising banquet that evening, sponsored by NCS Resins, which the celebrities will also attend. Tables of eight are available for R8 000, and single seats for R1 000, with a celebrity couple at each table. Attendees will enjoy a three-course dinner, and entertainment provided by some of the celebrities.
Proceeds from the day, in keeping with the charity focus on children in need in the Vaal Triangle area, will go to the Annani Trauma Centre in Vereeniging. The Annani Trauma Centre is a non-profit organisation that takes care of underprivileged children, is a place of safety for children from orphanages, and cares for those who have suffered severe physical and mental trauma.
“The Emerald Ice Block Challenge is just one of the ways in which we give back to the community in which we operate,” says Emerald Resort & Casino CEO Martin Rice. “We place great store in initiatives such as this, which go to the heart of our licence to operate, and we are very pleased that the Emerald Ice Block Challenge has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2007.”
Rice continues that while the boat-racing will provide thrills and spills galore and loads of live music will satisfy even the most jaded punter, the best part of the Emerald Ice Block Challenge is the benefit it brings to those who need it most.
“Children are our most precious national asset, but too many of them are vulnerable and in desperate need of support. Although the Emerald Ice Block Challenge is about having a lot of fun, it has a very serious purpose: the bettering of the lives of children who need it most.
“We at the Emerald Resort & Casino are proud to be doing our bit. I would also like to pay especial tribute to the event sponsors and all our participating celebrities for their generous spirit and civic-mindedness.”
Entry to the Emerald Ice Block Challenge, at the Emerald Resort & Casino’s River Resort, is free of charge. The gates open at 9am on 24 July, and racing commences at 10am