Even the "items" contributed for the silent auction held before the dinner were in the out-of-the-ballpark range, generating over $5,000 for such offerings as sports tickets, power tools, laptop computers and weekend getaways.
Skilled auctioneer Mark Gellman of Charity Benefits handled the live auction after dinner with his usual rapid-fire call for bids that steadily raised the offers on scores of top-value contributions. This included a seven-day stay in a 3,000-square-foot apartment in the bow of The World, a private cruise ship that spends its time sailing the globe. The high bidders can board the vessel anywhere it docks to start their seven-day tour. Other winning bids went for a banquet for 24 with winery magnate Phil Wente, two weeks at a club in Phoenix and a day of sailing on a 42-foot yacht on the San Francisco Bay.
The poker-based theme of the event was "All In," and most of the nearly 500 party-goers joined Gellman, a Ruby Hill auction specialists, in flashing their bid cards in his search for the highest bidder. With door and table prizes and one of the best meals in town served up by Read Phillips of Beet's Catering, nobody left empty-handed. Local craftsman Gary Winter also sold out his wood carvings of Amador Theater miniatures, with purple and yellow banners etched on the front that buyers could add "Class of 2008" or other years, with all profits going into the Booster fund.
This was the 23rd annual fundraiser dinner-dance sponsored by the Boosters, who raise money during the year for 23 athletic sporting programs that include all varsity and junior varsity sports, the cheerleaders and other sporting organizations at Amador Valley High.
Parsons found that with the school district's decision to cut some coaching jobs along with programs and classroom aides, such as reading specialists, parents were especially motivated this year to pitch in actively and financially to help. They know it's going to be a hard couple of years for many of these programs and they're willing to do whatever it takes to keep Amador athletics financially sound. Their record-setting attendance at Saturday's Booster fundraiser and generous contributions may also bode well in any effort by the school board to seek approval for a parcel tax to help all schools later this year.