Wednesday, June 4, 2008
T 2 T Auction
4th Annual Trash to Treasure Auction a Resounding Success
The sun was shining and a light breeze was blowing as guests arrived early last Friday evening for good wine, good music and fund raising for a good cause. The scene was the south lawn of the Victorian Lace Inn on Whitewater Avenue where a great crowd was gathering for the 4th Annual Trash to Treasure Charity Auction and Wine Tasting Event. The Bandanas, better known to some as the Henry sisters (Rosie, Barb & Bev), were singing with their unique blend of harmony, and for a few hours, all present would enjoy the camaraderie of the evening while raising money to support breast cancer research.
Sharon Vreeman, proprietress of the Victorian Lace Inn and Tea Room, once again donated the use of her establishment to the St. Charles Women in Business, originators and sponsors of the event. Jan Nessler of Good Sport Liquor provided and served several varieties of wine for guests to sample. There were two dozen or so new items donated by local businesses and individuals for the silent auction that was to take place throughout the evening. And the south lawn of the inn was filled with trash to treasure creations for the live auction scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
The Trash to Treasure Charity Auction was conceived four years ago when the Women in Business wanted a way to donate to charity as a group. That year, the theme for Gladiolus Days was “Doors to the Past, Windows to the Future.” With abundant creativity and a knack for trash to treasure projects, it seemed appropriate to the women to take discarded doors and windows and give them new life. The women invited their customers and clients to do the same and the Trash to Treasure Auction was born.
The first year the auction was held after the Sunday parade. The women were pleased with the number of items donated and the funds raised, but, as one member stated, “That first year we pretty much bought each other’s projects.” But they raised enough money to cover expenses and still donate to two charities. In an effort to increase attendance and raise more money, the event was moved to Friday evening and wine tasting was added.
Knowing they personally have more time to give than money, these St. Charles business women spend countless hours preparing for the annual auction by turning trash into treasure. They recycle, repurpose, reinvent and reuse items others have discarded, turning end tables and beds into benches, windows and screens into wall art, jeans and sweaters into purses, chairs without seats and ladders with missing rungs into planters. You name it they can make something of it. They have now chosen to support breast cancer research as “their cause” by donating funds raised to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
For that reason, on that beautiful August evening, after the guests had sampled the wines and enjoyed the sounds of the Bandanas, Marge Utley, owner of Emma’s Nook & Granny, welcomed the gathered crowd on behalf of the Women in Business and made an impassioned plea for wild and outrageous bids, stating the auction wasn’t about getting something for a bargain, but rather was a fun way to make a donation to breast cancer research, noting that several women present wouldn’t be there had it not been for advances in medical research. “Bid with abandon. Bid on stuff even if you don’t want it. Just leave it here and we’ll sell it again next year,” urged Utley.
Before turning the microphone over to Glenn Mueller, volunteer auctioneer for the fourth year, Utley closed with the plea, “Please, open your hearts, open your wallets and donate by bidding outrageously on our treasures. Because, really, it’s all about the cure.”
The 2 ½ hour auction that ensued was lively and boisterous, as bidders tried to outdo each other, amidst hoots and hollers of encouragement from the crowd. “Designed and donated by the Pfarkle Sisters” (a/k/a Sharon Vreeman and her sisters Diane Perry and Janell Kraut) was heard often as one item after another made by the sisters went up for bids. Numerous other treasures were created by Utley, her sister Annette Skrukrud, a new area resident, as well as Laura Kirby and her crew at Gatherings & Gifts and GG’s Hava Java. Kirby, who is well-known for turning “nothing into something,” assisted the auctioneer by keeping track of sales as she encouraged bidders, tongue in cheek, by telling them how much more they would have to pay for the items in her shop if she won the bid.
Lively bidding wars erupted over several items including a bench made from a bed and high chair with a floral arrangement. Wilma Sheely’s quart jar of pickles, an audience favorite for the fourth year, added $60.00 to the accumulating research funds.
By the time treasures were loaded into vehicles to go to new homes, darkness had fallen. Jay Palmer and Ann Lichliter, residents of St. Charles for a just a few weeks, walked to the event, having no real idea of what to expect. By evenings’ end they had purchased a few treasures and made some new friends, including Ron Utley who volunteered to deliver their purchases.
The Women in Business once again conducted a successful fund raiser for breast cancer research. The live and silent auctions, combined with various other cash donations such as Lib Lommen’s garage sale proceeds, currently stand at a little over $5,200.00, exceeding last year’s total by well over $1,700.
Look for these ambitious and generous women to sponsor another auction during Gladiolus Days next year. As more people find out about the charity auction and learn what “trash to treasure” is all about, the Women in Business hope to draw an even larger crowd and raise more money to help fund breast cancer research. As one survivor put it, “One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That is way too many women. We have to help find a cure. Fast.”
If you would like to donate to breast cancer research with the St. Charles Women in Business, contact Sharon Vreeman at the Victorian Lace Inn at 1512 Whitewater Avenue or call her at 932-4496.
A huge gathering of "Befores"
Step stool, planters
Pink vanity, lamp, chairs
Snowman window screen