Elegant Auction gets groovy, raises $45,000

Auctioneer and Master of Ceremonies John Lumm stands back as sisters Kim and Heather Lawson have fun modeling the “We Can Work It Out” tool package created and donated by SmithWORX Rental & Repair.
Auctioneer and Master of Ceremonies John Lumm stands back as sisters Kim and Heather Lawson have fun modeling the “We Can Work It Out” tool package created and donated by SmithWORX Rental & Repair. Special to Sierra Star

The seven night vacation in an ocean-front home on the Kona Coast of Hawaii generated competitive bidding energy at the 32nd annual Elegant Auction to benefit the Oakhurst Community Park Saturday.

The $8,200 winning bid, by Snezhana and Bernie McGoldrick and Dara and Dane Baldwin, was the single highest bid for any of the 32 items auctioned and contributed to the $45,000 collected at the fundraiser.

The 150 party guests arriving at Tenaya Lodge were treated to a wintery scene of snow-covered tree branches as flurries swept through earlier in the day. The ‘Beatles’ theme greeted guests as they entered the lodge’s transformed ballroom through a 60s ‘love’ bus painted with peace signs.

Large paintings of flowers and peace signs on canvas, created by auction committee members, carried the theme throughout the ballroom. Trays of coconut shrimp and bruschetta, and glasses of sparkling champagne were offered to guests as they entered the room also decorated with dozens of 45 and 78 RPM vinyl records. Records suspended from the ceiling, chandelier style, carried out the theme in the space overhead.

The live auction brought almost $27,000 for projects needed at the community park. The park’s only funding is generated from this event, said Andrew Pence, Oakhurst Community Park Committee and Elegant Auction Committee chair.

The live auction items were named with the theme in mind. The “Here Comes the Sun” package for a stay at the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort in Cabo San Lucas was donated by Andrew and Kelley Nelson of Coarsegold Tax Services. Brandon and Jessica Steele of Grocery Outlet were the winning bidders at $1,200.

The vacation stays were popular items. The “Moonlight Bay” package included a one-week stay in Mazatlàn. It was donated by Fern Facchino, and Dianna and Jeff Conaway of Western Sierra Nursery offered the $2,000 winning bid.

Dave Nemeth of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., held the winning raffle ticket for the Robert Graham limited edition Ringo Starr shirt that the Steeles donated. The shirt featured small peace signs and stars embellished with hand beading and embroidery, and was finished with a multi-colored glass peace sign at the collar.

The evening’s festivities were orchestrated by park committee members Brandon Steele, Teri Gambril, Susan Macaulay and Betty Linn as well as auction committee members: Pam Curtley, Susan Macaulay, Tami Michel, Gina Mims, Kim Owens, Mary Pence, Rima Runtzel, Christine Smith, Donna Smith, Paula Trappen, Tammy VanRossen, Jill Conrad and Cynthia Sobel.

The staff at Tenaya Lodge served and prepared the carved turkey and ham, mashed potato bar, and trays of desserts. Harley Villines prepared made-to-order pasta entrées. Spinach, asparagus, shrimp, ripe olives, mushrooms and shaved Parmesan cheese and white or red sauce could be added to penne pasta.

Committee members and other volunteers spent 20 hours decorating the venue, but many additional hours were spent gathering auction items and creating the decorations.

Music during the silent auction and dinner was provided by Nate Butler of The Beetles, Fresno’s Fab Faux and he was joined by other band members for the dancing following the live auction.

John Lumm served as auctioneer and master of ceremonies for the evening.

An Easter egg hunt for 5,000 candy-filled plastic eggs will be held from 8 a.m. - noon on Saturday, April 15 at the park. The event is free and will include a variety of children’s activities including face painting by Yosemite High School cheerleaders. Food will be offered for sale, including a pancake breakfast, cotton candy and a hot dog lunch.