By Cal Braid
Sunny South News
The Gem of the West Museum Society hosted its 12th Annual Wine and Cheese Auction over the weekend, and museum manager Craig Day said, “It was a great night. Our auctioneers were Dean Oseen and Dick Indenbosch. (We) haven’t done an official count, but best guess is about 90 people turned up for the event. I’m not sure how much we raised from the event; that is still to be determined.”
“The event is the museum’s biggest fundraiser in terms of support and donations from the community,” Day said. “Our past events tended to be sold out ticket sales.” With the Oct. 22 auction being the first one coming out of COVID, the museum society wasn’t sure what kind of a turnout to expect but remained hopeful.
In the two years before COVID (2018-19), the event was attended by over 150 people. Day said, “I don’t want to get too specific with money raised but the generosity of the Coaldale community has exceeded $15,000 in the past.”
He was enthusiastic and grateful as he continued, “This year the community has again surpassed our expectations for donations with items for our silent auction and live auction. There are well over $5,000 in donated items from businesses in and around Coaldale and Lethbridge.” He described a variety of donated items, including gift certificates for business services, wines, crafts, clothing, ornamental items, tools, event tickets and more. Some of these items were handmade items from talented locals.
The evening featured musical entertainment by Amy Allred, and Day said, “She was amazing.” Allred’s online bio lists her accomplishments: “In 2018, she had the opportunity to open for George Canyon on his ‘Made in Canada’ tour. She finished as a finalist two years in a row at Voice of the Big Valley Jamboree contest and was nominated for Fan’s Choice Contender round with the Alberta Country Music Association. Amy enthusiastically entertained at 85 events in 2018 and 64 in 2019! This year Amy is honoured to be recognized as one of Lethbridge’s top 40 under 40.” She performed throughout the evening.
The doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and guests had the opportunity to bid on the plethora of silent auction items until the cut-off just after 7 p.m. Food was served and was donated by Franco’s and Ming’s.
When the live auction began, Day said that more “amazing, donated items and some antique furniture pieces” were up for grabs. “A few of the fun items that we do regularly during this fundraiser is a mystery pumpkin which is stuffed with an assortment of donated gift cards which usually has a value exceeding $300. Another item we have is our travelling suitcase which is owned by many people but travels nowhere. People can bid on it and the winning bids are then engraved on a plaque and mounted on the suitcase which is displayed in the museum. “
He said that after the live auction was over there was time to enjoy more music and socialize while the organizers collected payments from all the winning bidders. The evening wrapped up at about 10 p.m.
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