LACONIA — The 33rd annual Children's Auction, which runs from Tuesday through Saturday next week, will be the first under the direction of the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children, a nonprofit corporation which earlier this year took sole ownership of the "Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction."
Since the first auction in 1982, which was conducted singlehandedly by Warren Bailey of WLNH, the auction has been effectively owned and operated by the radio station and its owners. Earlier this year, volunteers who devoted their time and energy to the success of the event reassessed the relationship with the station and chose to vest ownership of the auction in a nonprofit corporation — the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children.
Mike Seymour, chairman of the board of trustees, said yesterday that despite the change of ownership and leadership the 33rd auction will resemble its 32 forerunners in virtually all essential respects.
"There will be very little change," he said.
Above all, he stressed that the proceeds from the auction will be distributed among organizations within the communities whose members, both individuals and businesses, volunteer and donate to the auction.
Seymour explained that by tracking the source of donors and participants, the auction can define the local community it serves, which he said roughly corresponds to an area bounded by Franklin, Bristol, Plymouth, Alton and Belmont with Laconia at its center.
"It's a moving target," he said. "We will continue to expand as as our participants grow."
This year, the auction will be broadcast from on two FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5 and telecast by Lakes Region Public Access TV Channel 25 Metrocast and Channel 12 Metrocast.
Seymour assured those who have followed the auction over the years will "find a lot of the same players and faces they've seen in the past, like Warren Bailey, Pat Kelly and Chris Ialuna along with a mix of less familiar personalities and celebrities, perhaps even presidential candidates.
Seymour said 61 local charities, the most on record, have applied for support from the auction totaling $580,000.
"That is the most funding ever requested," he said, "but we have set no predetermined goal for the year."
He noted that since the auction began in 1982, it has raised approximately $4.1 million, almost half of that in the past five years. Recently, he said the auction has become a hub with a number of spokes, like Pubmania, the Parade of Homes, Pumpkin 5K and other fundraising events that donate their proceeds to the auction. Altogether, he said, the spokes represent more than half the $486,575 raised last year, when Pubmania alone contributed $235,595.
The auction will run from Tuesday, Dec. 8, through Saturday Dec. 12; from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Lake Opechee Conference Center in Lakeport. For more information, visit the auction's website at www.childrensauction.com.
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