GILFORD — The Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction gets underway Tuesday at a new location, Pheasant Ridge Golf Club in Gilford, after years of calling the Conference Center at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa its home.
"Pheasant Ridge meets the many needs of the auction to keep us going," said Sandra Marshall, Co-Chair of the Children's Auction Board of Directors. "We'd like to thank Jim Contigiani who has welcomed us with open arms, even during one of his busiest seasons. We appreciate his help in supporting our mission to help the children in our communities and hope to call Pheasant Ridge home for many years to come."
It will mark the second year the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction has been run by the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children. The auction hot its start in 1982, when WLNH radio host Warren Bailey created a two day fund raising broadcast from the WLNH van in front of the Laconia YMCA. They raised $2,100 and collected a number of items to be donated to the "Citizen Santa Fund."
Since that time the auction has grown to become a major source of funds for local charities and last year distributed $428,7000 to dozens of organizations across Central NewHampshire.
In addition to smaller organizations and families helped throughout the 34 years of the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction, annual contributions are given to many community-based organizations throughout Central New Hampshire. These include: The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, Laconia Police Relief Association, Health First Family Care of Franklin, Salvation Army, Lakes Region Child Care Services, Mrs. Santa Fund - Alton, St Vincent de Paul, Tapply-Thompson Community Center in Bristol, Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton Santa Fund and more.
Local companies support the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction by providing cash donations, sponsorships, and staff, allowing employees to serve the community at the event during what would normally be work hours. CruCon Cruise Outlet, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, MetroCast, LRPA TV, Meredith Village Savings Bank and many other organizations contribute support.
The auction is entirely volunteer run, with over 700 hundred volunteers and a range of donated auction items from the community. The auction buzzes with activity as phone bank workers cheer at over-bids, children dance and workers fly around the room. Items at the auction range from gift certificates to local businesses, sports collectibles, concert and sport tickets, autographed memorabilia, furniture, vacations, home décor, children's toys, electronics and holiday gifts.
Raising funds for the auction has become a year-round activity in the Lakes Region thanks in large part to Pub Mania, a 24-hour barstool challenge at Patricks Pub in which 30 teams compete to outdo each other. Last year Patrick's co-owner Allan Beetle, flanked by team captains, participants and volunteers, presented a check to the Children's Auction for $240,125, bringing the total raised by the event in seven years to over $1 million.
Tune in Dec. 6-10 on 104.9 the Hawk, 101.5 WZEI, MetroCast Channel 12, MetroCast LRPA Channel 25, or online at ChildrensAuction.com. For more information or to donate, log on to ChildrensAuction.com.
Getting ready for the annual Children's Auction, which gets underway Tuesday at Pheasant Ridge Country Club in Gilford, are Ed Darling, Debbie Livernois, a long-time phone bank volunteer; Dawn Phelps of Franklin Savings Bank, Tony Felch, Sandy Marshall, co-chair of the board of directors; Zack Derby of 10.9 The Hawk, who will be broadcasting live from the auction, and Liane Clairmont, of Lakes Region General Hospital. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)