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Rotary auction nets $50,000

November 03, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

With the help of a cowboy hat-clad auctioneer, Hagerstown Sunrise Rotary celebrated the success of its second fund-raising event on Sunday.

Approximately 250 people attended The Sun Rises Over Rotary Auction 2003 at the Sheraton Four Points on Dual Highway, according to Sunrise Rotary Secretary Bill Fritts. Though a final tally still was being worked on, the silent and live benefit auction portions of the event helped the Sunrise Rotary raise $50,000, Fritts said.

"It'll be another successful year," Fritts said following the event. "Overall, everyone came in with a great attitude, and we were very successful."

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The crowd appeared to be most entertained and excited by the rambunctious live auction, run by fast-talking auctioneer Norman O'Neal of Frederick, Md., with the help of local businessman Manny Shaool.

Shaool, owner of Manny's Oriental Rugs & Gallery Inc. on West Washington Street, donated many of the items that were bid on during the live auction. Three of the rugs he donated were among the top grossing items - a Chinese silk tabriz netted $3,900; a Persian mashad, $2,650; and a Persian kashan, $2,400.

Shaool also provided much of the comedy during the live auction. He joked that he is the "best cook" while trying to sell dinner for eight at his residence.

"If you want a tour of the house, you have to go higher," Shaool said with a smile. "For $900, you just come in the house and go straight to the dining room."

Shaool even auctioned off an evening with his son, Sasson Shaool, for a bid of $350.

Other sought-after items during the live auction included a seven-day Caribbean Cruise, a four-day stay in Bethany Beach, Del., and a one-week stay at the Smith House on Balk Head Island, N.C. The latter item was the top-grossing "non-rug" item, according to Fritts.

And though it was a bit quieter, the silent auction, which started at 4 p.m., also was a hit.

Attendees packed the small conference rooms just before 6 p.m. for the closing minutes of the silent auction, which included items like VIP passes to the 2004 Western Maryland Blues Fest, multiple lamps and vases, oil paintings and a DVD player.

"Oh my god, what am I gonna buy in the last 10 seconds?" asked Sunrise Rotary member Mary Anne Day.

Day ended up winning a lamp with her last-second bid.

"I just moved into a new house, and I don't have enough lamps," Day said.

Not everyone was so lucky during the last-second rush.

"My wife, Vivian, missed out on a painting," Al Smith said. "But we got a couple of the rugs and food items we bid on."

The auction benefited Community Free Clinic, Food Resources, Habitat For Humanity, Children in Need, Polio Plus and the Sunrise Rotary Foundation, said event chair Tory VanReenen.

"No matter what we raise, it's all going back to the community. That's what matters," VanReenen said.

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