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Chamber Auction Spices Up Dreary Dregs of Winter

It was Fiesta Time at the 19th annual Greater Wyalusing Chamber of Commerce Auction and Dinner, with the Wyalusing Hotel serving up Mexican fare and some spicy bidding action at the vocal auction later in the evening.

This came to be known as the Sinner's Table, with Father Joe Manarchuck (second from right) having his hands full with (from left) Dennis Kochenash, Wayne Felter and Joe Jones.

This major fund-raiser for the Chamber, held in the Tuscarora Wayne Community Room in its Main Street facility Saturday evening, was also a success, topping last year's event in total receipts and net profits, according to Executive Director Wendy Gaustad. It wouldn't be possible without the donated services of Shamrock Auction Service, with Jerry Burke and his son, Patrick, and daughter, Theresa, splitting bid calling in auctioning off some four dozen donated items during the vocal auction after dinner.

Prior to the dinner and vocal auction were two rounds of silent auctions featuring 105 items combined and donated by various businesses and individuals running the gamut from a full service oil change to a Bearington Bear. There were gift certificates galore for everything from dinners, pizzas and subs to pet grooming.

It is the vocal auction that is always the big draw at the Chamber Auction, of course, and Jerry Burke always gets the action off to a fast-paced start by involving the audience. It started with the passing of a hand-made pi?ata, which was passed from table to table and filled with cash to be bid upon later. The Taylor family also donated a pair of coolers, each with a mystery amount of cash inside and the audience told there was a guarantee of at least $50 cash in each,

Three candidates for Bradford County Commissioner—Doug McLinko, Daryl Miller and Sharon Lowery—were in attendance, as was the always faithful state Rep. Tina Pickett. Sullivan County Sheriff Burton Adams, who will not be running for re-election, was also in attendance with his wife, Joanne.Doug and Peggy Thompson, flanking their daughter, Amanda, were at one of several two-generation tables at the Charity Auction and Dinner Saturday night.

The Chamber Auction is known for its mixture of items. You could bid on a two-person kayak trip with wine, compliments of Endless Mountain Outfitters, or a large custom quilt, compliments of Val's Quilting, a state award winner. There was a trip to the "Sight & Sound" Theatres in Lancaster, which includes a hotel stay, or you could bid on exquisite craftsmanship—the likes of a stained glass daffodil handmade by Dennis Kochenash or doilies from Mary Jones.

There were 10 pounds of tuna steaks up for bid, donated by Sysco Foods, a pallet of multi-colored flagstone from Johnson Quarries and, with spring approaching, $100 of pest control services from Thompson Pest Control. There were six months of web hosting from D3 Web Design, four hours of carpentry service from Thor's Chores and even a one-hour massage from Liz Johnston at Healing Hands.

There was a 110-piece set of Carnation-pattern China, a family heirloom from the late Evelyn Keeney of Wyalusing and donated by Chuck Bullock at Sanford & Son, and a handmade beech bowl donated by Fred's Creative Woodworking. There was even a Kindle reader with a $50 Amazon gift card donated by P&G Credit Union and a conversion kit donated by Moore's Auto Sales that allows you to receive HDTV on your laptop. The largest item was an antique buffet donated by the Gaustad family.

The report from the Chamber was that the 50-50-drawing and raffles were particularly productive this year, and a big reason why the event netted $1,500 more than last year. Total receipts came to $500 more than the 2010 auction.

There were many favorable comments on the fiesta theme, featuring colorful sombreros as the centerpieces on the table and, of course, the cuisine.

"We thought it might be nice to do something a little different this year," said a pleased Chamber President Carol Goodman, who has reportedly received a few suggestions on possible themes and cuisines for next year.

Wes Skillings and Dave Buck served as respective emcee for the vocal auction and announcer for the silent auctions.

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