More than 300 attendees rocked around the clock, paid homage to a local leader and generously supported various community projects during the 2014 Seaside Rotary Auction.
One of the best aspects of the annual auction, held Oct. 18 at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, was the “huge participation from the community” and the club’s 40 or so members, said Nicolle Landwehr, secretary of the Seaside Rotary and co-chair of the auction.
About 320 people attended the event, which is more than previous years when participation generally leveled at about 280, she said. The organizers had to keep adding tables as more people registered.
“That was a fun problem to have,” she said.
She said the auction’s theme of “Rotary Rocks Around the Clock” worked well, because it was a theme “people could really grasp onto.” Almost half of the attendees wore clothing to represent the fabulous ’50s — there was no lack of leather jackets, poodle skirts and hot pinks.
The event, as always, centered on the traditional silent and live auctions, which featured four desserts, trips to Ireland and Arizona, paintings, specialty items and more. Business owners and individuals, mostly from South County, donated the items.
Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross, who retired this month, was honored at the event. Active in the Seaside Rotary for more than 10 years, Gross was a key player in several local volunteer organizations in the community.
The event featured a paddle auction with four different sponsor levels of $1,000, $500, $100 and $50. Sponsors received honorary titles of chief, captain, lieutenant and squad, respectively. Individuals could also be sponsors through placing tributes for Gross in the event catalog. The approximately $15,000 raised in Gross’s name was donated to the South County Community Food Bank’s fundraising campaign.
An additional activity at the auction was the “blinky raffle.” Attendees could purchase bright blinkies for $100 apiece to be entered into a raffle. The winner of the raffle got to select one item from almost all the live auction offerings. The proceeds from the raffle are earmarked for the Rotary club’s annual Wishing Tree Project, which provides Christmas presents to area children whose parents cannot afford to provide gifts.
The “diamond sponsor” of the event was WorldMark by Wyndham, which donated $5,000, Landwehr said. Sponsorships accounted for about $20,000 of the funds raised.
Overall, the event raised an estimated $93,000, although organizers still are crunching numbers and may have a few last expenses to pay, Landwehr said. That sum includes $15,000 for the food pantry, proceeds from both auctions and approximately $9,000 from the blinky raffle.
“We’re definitely tipping the highest that we’ve ever done, so we’re liking that,” she said.
The money not designated for a specific organization went to the Seaside Rotary Foundation, which uses the funds for its youth exchange program, international project involving water and sanitation, scholarships for high school seniors and projects to benefit senior citizens and other causes.
“We’re just excited about the success” of the auction, Landwehr said.