The return of the Clinton For Kids fundraiser dinner and auction raised a record-setting $49,000 on Nov. 19.
Jessica Lawrence, who organized the event with her husband Jordan, said that this year’s auction was monumental, with all 150 tickets selling out. Lawrence said that after a two-year hiatus, to return with such a bang was gratifying.
“There’s a long history of really energetic parents who have organized this event for decades before Jordan and I took it over,” Lawrence said. “Because there was such a hiatus and we weren’t able to do it, the energy this year was so high and the enthusiasm was there right out of the gate. The whole night just had a wonderful energy to it and was full of so much love.”
After expenses, Lawrence said $40,000 will be donated to the David Stoddart School PAC to fund field trips and buy equipment for the children. For comparison, Lawrence said 2019’s auction donated $13,500 after expenses.
Included with each ticket was a catered dinner, a live auction, a silent auction, and a 50/50 draw. The theme of the night, held at the Clinton Memorial Hall, was the wild west, with attendees encouraged to dress up in western fashion.
Lawrence said that, thanks to her theatre background, she was able to spice up the night by decorating the hall and having attendees take part in a laser tag shootout to win a spot at the buffet table. For entertainment she had the Mill Girl Follies perform, while Coun. Nicholas Kosovic crashed the night as “Bad Bart, the baddest guy in Clinton.”
“He came in and had a saloon draw and lost out, which ended with him being hit over the head with a couple of sugar glass beer bottles by his wife Lillian,” Lawrence said.
During the live auction, run by Tim Terepocki and Gord Colliar, Lawrence said that 100 items were auctioned off. Bids started high and only grew, with the final item of the night — a hand-crocheted blanket made by Clinton student Trinity Parsons — going for $3,000.
“She was worried that no one would bid on it because it had some imperfections,” said Lawrence. “I chose that item as the last item of the night and it went for $3,000.”
The item that went for the highest bid was a wagon wheel piece made by Wayne Fletcher and Karen Gray, which sold for $3,600.
Lawrence credits the nights’ success to volunteers like kitchen manager Melissa Painter and their sponsors. Wesley Lesosky, of Salmon Arm’s Lemonade Stand, donated $2,000 to pay for the dinner, a beautiful charcuterie board for the live auction, and glassware for every table that attendees could take with them. Blake Bolster Realty, Colleen Meyer from Langley Motor Loans, High Bar First Nation, and United Steelworkers Local 1-417 were also key partners in planning the event.
“It’s a longstanding tradition and I’m really glad we can carry it on,” said Lawrence. “It seems to be building in popularity year after year, and we just hope to keep holding to a high standard so people think of it fondly.”