Gale tree auction raises nearly than $20,000

More than $10,150 was raised for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst during the 13th annual Christmas Tree Auction held Dec. 7at the Bass Lake Event Center of The Pines Resort. An additional $9,400 was raised for other community charities that benefit from the event.

“This is the only community event that benefits multiple non-profit charities,” said Donna Smith, who has co-chaired the event each year since its inception.

Disney themed trees, wreaths, stuffed animals and toys were found in the raffle, silent and live auctions. Olaf from “Frozen” peeked from the top of a white tree decorated with a large Elsa doll. The tree donated by Colette Goga, owner of Oakhurst Feed and Pet Supply, brought a winning bid of $1,300. At the base of the tree was a toy box overflowing with “Frozen” themed toys.

The silent auction raised $2,877, the raffle $1,830 and the live auction $14,565. Toys, jewelry, digital Christmas ornaments, restaurant gift certificates for Crab Cakes Restaurant, DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant, Round Table Pizza and El Cid Mexican Cuisine were found on the silent auction tables. There also were a number of tickets for the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad up for silent bid.

A 46-inch flat screen television was donated by Yosemite Bank for the raffle table. It was accompanied by a DVD player, complete with a “Frozen” DVD, donated by Christy Smith, owner of Designs by Christine.

A metal fire pit with laser cut designs was created by Yosemite High School Future Farmers of America and went for $900 in the live auction with half the proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Club and half to the YHS FFA. Jessica and Brandon Steele, owners of Grocery Outlet, submitted the winning bid for the fire pit.

Other trees went to Ron and Sherry Colgate who bid $550 for the Children’s Museum of the Sierra tree, attorney Greg Chappel put up the winning $650 bid for the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) tree that came with gifts underneath including homemade soaps.

“MOPS was new to the event this year,” said said Melanie Barker, event co-chair. “As an incentive to all participants, we offered a $100 bonus to the organization that brought the most people and MOPS won that $100 for bringing 18 special guests to the event.”

The Oakhurst Mountain Lions Club decorated tree had a “Candy Cane Revelry” theme. The tree seemed to explode with red and white candy canes as a little toy train on a track circled under the tree. The winning $500 bid for this tree came from realtors Melissa and Kenny Buller.

As her senior project, Julianna Gemelli decorated a tree that benefited the Boys & Girls Club,and the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park - its decorations provided food for birds. Another tree designed as “Fast Food for Flyers” to be used outdoors to feed birds was decorated with birdseed wreaths created by Linda Maddox and Tami Michell. This tree was provided by the Eastern Madera County Relay for Life. Action heroes decorated the Cornerstone Counseling Tree that also came with vintage comic

The Mountain Bear Fan Club tree was covered with adorable Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore stuffed animals and even larger versions were clustered at its base.

The tree decorated by Soroptimists International of the Sierras club members featured 40 antique, handmade, vintage Victorian ornaments that were donated by John Peto and Soroptimist member Tara Ryan.

Two small trees designed to stand sentinel beside an entryway door were decorated by YHS senior Ryan Emerick to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club and for the YHS golf program.

Tim Madden performed auctioneer duties for the first time this year as Doug Macaulay stepped down last year after serving as auctioneer for the first 12 years of the event. The Chamber Maids set a holiday mood with carols and other holiday songs as guests perused the silent auction tables.

The Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst serves children from kindergarten through 18 years of age and provides them a safe haven and also teaches them life skills in the areas of education, career, health and fitness, technology, character, leadership, and the arts. The club facility is located at 40094 Indian Springs Road between Oakhurst Elementary and Oak Creek Intermediate Schools.

Serving on the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst Board of Directors are President Bob Macaulay, Jerry Lebovitz, Glenn Reid, Shawna Petrushkin, Scott Michel, Eric Wood, and club director Peggy Decker. Other tree auction committee members, in addition to co-chairs Barker and Smith are Heather Airey, Ron Colgate, Lee Ann Daniels, Katherine Emerick, Julianna Gemelli, Kris Gregory, Rima Runtzel, Tami Michel, Cyd Muramoto, David Salisbury, Christy Smith, and Jim Elliott.