BASS LAKE – The halls were decked and the trees trimmed in the most imaginative ways as the 11th Annual Christmas Tree Auction got underway in the Lakeside Room at the Pines Resort on Sunday, Dec. 2.
Every year, this auction raises thousands of dollars for local charities, and gives everyone a chance to take home a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. It’s also an opportunity for those vying for their favorite to have some fun trying to out-bid each other.Each of the live auction items are created by a different organization or business, and include Christmas trees of various sizes and wreaths.
The evening was elegant as usual, and the Sierra Chamber Singers “Chamber Maids” filled the room with songs of the season. The Pines Resort pulled out all the stops with amazing hors d’ouerves, a sumptuous buffet and delicious desserts, all provided in a beautiful setting overlooking Bass Lake.
While the 150 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and perhaps a sip of holiday cheer, they had a chance to bid on some of the 200+ silent auction items. That portion of the evening was a fun-filled competition to see who could get the best deals while raising dollars for charity.
There were some new faces at the auction this year, including Casey and Lindsey Hawkins, owners of the South Gate Brewing Company, which is scheduled to open in 2013 in Oakhurst, and Matt Sconce, James Nelson (along with wife Amy) and Keith Walker, new owners of the Met Cinemas.
The Visitors Bureau’s own Jarrod Lyman, who was accompanied by wife Cindy and their young daughter, did a wonderful job getting the crowd warmed up for head auctioneer Doug Macaulay.
As the bidding got underway, one of the trees that got the most action was the Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise (Morning Club) Rotary’s “Angel Tree.” The club’s president-elect Susan Macauley was the decorating coordinator with help from Dena Boortz, Rhonda Salisbury and Sunny Duncanson.
The winning bid for the tree was over $1,300, and almost $2,000 was collected in total with extra donations added after bidding was closed. Fifty percent of the proceeds went to the Boys and Girls Club, and fifty percent to Toys for Tots.
David Linn, the winning bidder and long time member of the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary (Noon Club), was vigorously bidding on the tree. Rumor has it that his wife Betty had stated that it was her favorite. The Linn’s have been active, generous supporters for years.
This was the first year that Helping One Woman (H.O.W.) has participated, and their tree garnered $725. H.O.W. chapter coordinator Donna Dozier offered “a big thank you to Jodi Dillon who created a most magnificent tree indeed. Thank you Jodi for all your hard work and fantastic ideas.”
The largest donation for one item was the $2,600 bid by Dennis and Kathy Creighton for a Hand Carved Bear donated by Jim Smith. The bear is the only item in the live auction that is not a tree or a wreath.
“Every year I covet the hand carved bear,” said Rima Runtzel, event co-chair with Donna Parker, “and this year it was our highest selling item. Maybe next year?”
The Christmas Tree Auction raised $28,312 to benefit many local charities in the community.
Charities that benefited include:
Children’s Museum of the Sierras
Boys and Girls Club of Oakhurst
Scholarship Fund of The Wild Wonderful Women
Helping One Woman (H.O.W) Group
Rotary Santa Program
Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Park
Mountain Lions Club
Rivergold Kindergarten Class
Soroptimist community service projects
Mountain Bear Fan Club Gifting program
Local Toys for Tots
Oakhurst Lutheran Community Children’s Ministries
Mountain Lions Club
Positive Living Center
49 Ears Disney Club Scholarship Fund
Vision Academy of the Arts
Coarsegold School 4th GradeClass
Helping Hands Pregnancy & Parenting Center
Sierra Lions Club
Cornerstone Counseling Center
Yosemite High School Scholarship Fund