The Cody James Gang takes the stage at Patrick’s Pub and Eatery during the Pub Mania event Thursday evening. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
Santa and his elves rocked around the clock Thursday and Friday at Patrick’s Pub & Eatery, raising money for The Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction.
This was the ninth annual Pub Mania event, in which 31 teams of 24 people raise funds throughout the year and bring their donations to a challenge in which they sit on bar stools for 24 hours, or one hour for each person.
Representing the Laconia Country Club’s 19th Hole team was club General Manager Charles Wheeler in full Santa Claus attire, a Citron and cranberry juice at hand.
“I’m having only one drink because I have to drive the sleigh home,” he said Thursday evening, as the music blared and the elves partied.
“It’s a fantastic cause. There are a lot of great people, and with a Santa Claus outfit, everybody likes you.”
Pub co-owner Allan Beetle was nearby, wearing a referee’s shirt and presiding over the fun. He took the stage to announce winners of various contests and to encourage the packed house to break last year’s total of $276,267 in charitable contributions.
In all, the Children’s Auction raised and distributed more than $400,000 last year to fill emergent needs for food, clothing and gifts over the holiday period.
The auction, now in its 36th year, is being televised on MetroCast cable television channels 12 and 25, online at ChildrensAuction.com, and is being broadcast on FM radio at 104.9 and 101.5 through today. People phone in or go online to bid on donated items.
The tally of how much was raised at Pub Mania was to be announced at 11 a.m. Saturday during the auction.
Beetle said the success of the pub event has amazed him.
“We never knew we would have this level of success,” he said.
Pub Mania includes 14 hours of live music.
Organizing the event, working with the team captains and getting other advance work completed can be all consuming.
“I’m able to stay grounded by thinking of all the good this does for the community,” Beetle said.
There’s a karaoke contest, lip synching and dancing. In the wee hours, people show up in their pajamas.
“Around 4 a.m., things tend to get a little quieter,” he said.
His advice for staying up 24 hours:
“Just try to keep going and having fun. You’ve got to stay busy. If you slow down, 10 minutes can seem like an hour.”
The auction has grown to become a major source of funds for local charities and organizations across Central New Hampshire.
In addition to smaller organizations and families that are helped, annual contributions are given to many community-based organizations. These include the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region, Laconia Police Relief Association, HealthFirst 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, and the Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton Santa Fund.
One of Santa’s elves dances for her team during Pub Mania at Patrick’s Pub and Eatery Thursday evening. The Children’s Auction continues through Saturday at 1 p.m. Bid online at www.childrensauction.com. The final tally will be published in Tuesday’s Laconia Daily Sun. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
The Fusion Team of Rhonda Reed, Kevin and Shannon Buttermore get recognized for Kevin and his elf’s dance moves during the early evening hours of Pub Mania. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)