$46,000 raised for community park

About $46,000 was raised last Saturday at the Tenaya Lodge during the 30th annual Elegant Auction to benefit the Oakhurst Community Park. The event was attended by 160 guests who bid on some 220 silent and more than 40 live auction items.

Andrew Pence, who served this year as both Park Committee Chairman and Elegant Auction Committee Chairman, recalled the early years of the auction when his mother, Mary Pence, was instrumental in establishing the auction as the primary fundraiser for the park. He remembered being at the various venues that have hosted the park auction - Community Center of Oakhurst, Golden Chain Theatre, Evergreen Conference Center (ECCO), Ahwahnee Country Club (now Sierra Meadows Golf) and The Pines Resort.

“The event was a huge success this year thanks to old wisdom and new blood,” Pence said. “The auction was crowded with first time attendees, but the real magic was done behind the scenes. The ladies on the auction committee outdid themselves once again.”

The silent auction featured a variety of items ranging from jewelry to a candy tower created by Tami Michel, an auction committee member. The candy was donated by the Coarsegold Kwik Serv.

The raffle featured items ranging from a golf bag with rounds of golf donated by River Creek Golf Course to a black and white photograph by Jerry Bosworth taken in the ghost town of Bodie. In the photograph, a bottle of Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey can be seen. Bosworth found that the whiskey still comes in the same shaped bottle so he made sure that the photograph winner also won a bottle of the whiskey.

During the silent auction, guests could feast on ham, turkey, individually prepared pasta dishes, cheeses, fruit pops, desserts and champagne.

They were entertained by Alison Sharino on vocals and piano and Sam Nilsson on guitar.

Auctioneer Loren Wheeler got bidding started at a vigorous pace in the live auction by encouraging guests to “wave your hand in the air, and wave it like you just don’t care.”

The always popular “Dash for Cash” was won by Scott Michel, while the seven-night Hawaii stay donated by Rick and Teri Gambril went to Andrew Pence for $3,9000. Something new to the auction this year was a flight over the Sierras donated by Airborn Aviation. The live auction raised some $27,000 for the park.

Brunch for two at Erna’s Elderberry House was won by Nick Schneider in the door prize drawing.

Serving on the Park Committee are Andrew Pence, Dave Nickel, Teri Gambril, Susan Macaulay and Betty Linn.

Eric Wood served as Master of Ceremonies. Other members of the Elegant Auction Committee are: Pence, Macaulay, Paula Trappen, Tami Michel, Maria Miller, Gina Mimas, Erica Pence, Mary Pence, Rima Runtzel, Rhonda Salisbury, Christine Smith and Donna Smith.

“The park is just a piece of land if not for all the supporters this year and the previous 30,” Andrew Pence said. “Please be proud of the Blue Ribbons you hang in your offices and businesses and be sure to thank those supporters by shopping and doing business locally.”

A survey about the event can be found at