Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center hosts 13th annual Wet, Wild Auction
GRASONVILLE — Tucked away down Discovery Lane in Grasonville on Saturday night, Sept. 16, were more than 200 people drinking, eating, mingling and opening their wallets to support the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.
For the 13th time, county residents came out to bid, both silently and during a live auction, on donated items spread throughout the environmental advocacy group’s education building. From tickets to see the Washington Wizards to a fold up bicycle, from glassware to persian rugs, and from carved wooden ducks to framed paintings of ducks, more than 80 items were available to the highest bidder.
The first 90 minutes of the $100-a-ticket event was dedicated to socializing and meandering the room to spot items of interest. The Caribbean-themed fundraiser, which had many attendees dressed in brightly colored shirts with palm trees and the like, was catered by Bridges Restaurant with a menu that included filet mignon, fried maduros, grilled mahi mahi and jerk chicken, as well as mixed greens and steamed rice.
All the while, Orlando Phillips, a regular performer at the annual event, played his Caribbean drum and electrified the air with his unique island sounds.
At 7:30 p.m., people made their way to the tent for the live auction. CBEC Vice President Merry Tobin thanked all in attendance for supporting the nonprofit organization. Tobin also thanked the auction committee members, who received a round of applause, for their work in making another successful event.
Judy Wink, CBEC executive director, told the group about two initiatives CBEC took on in the past year. The first was a partnership with Harris Crab House and Seafood Restaurant to create an oyster lease project, “which I think is a great help,” she said. The second initiative was the geo-dome project, where fish and vegetables will be grown to benefit the Mar yland Food Bank.
The live auction, conducted by Jeff Heisey with Atlantic Auctions, had 13 items for bid during dessert in the outdoor tent. Items for auction included a half-day fishing excursion, a diamond bracelet, a helicopter tour of Baltimore with dinner for four included, as well as a wicker patio set and electric 2009 Pron Znen scooter. All the items were donated by various individuals.
The total amount raised through the live auction was $15,250. At the end of the evening, Vicki Paulas, a Wet and Wild auction committee member and CBEC employee, announced that an anonymous attendee was willing to make a $20,000 donation if another $20,000 matching donation would be made.
Heisey, starting at $1,000 and making his way through $500 and $250 donations, asked audience members to raise their hands and announce their bidding number if they were willing to chip in. With more than 20 donors, the $20,000 match was made to complete a $40,000 donation to the organization.
The evening closed with the annual Heads/Tails game where people put their hands on either their head or “tail” anticipating what side of the coin Heisey’s flip would land on. If participants guessed correctly the side of the coin, they stayed in the game until no one was left. The winner received the 50/50 raffle prize.
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center is a 510-acre wildlife preserve established in 1979. Its mission is to promote stewardship and sustainability through environmental education and habitat restoration. It offers a unique hands-on, feet-wet educational programs for students from pre-school age into adulthood.
For more information about CBEC, visit www. bayrestoration.org.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_kibaytimes.
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center Board of Trustees members gather for a photo at the education building during the annual Wet and Wild Auction on Saturday, Sept. 16.