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Flemings open their home for silent auction preview

Goods for sale will help raise money for Boys & Girls Club of SCV

Posted: June 6, 2008 2:14 a.m.
Updated: August 6, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Elizabeth Hopp, of Valencia, walks through the Fleming home on May 29, looking over at some of the auction items previewed at the party. In the foreground is the autographed glove of Tony Gwynn. Because the party's theme is sports, many of the previewed items were sports-related.

Last Thursday evening, Don and Cheri Fleming once again opened their beautiful and party-friendly Westridge home for a good cause. And though it might have been a little hard to feel it, what with the Lakers playing the Spurs on the wide screen televisions, the theme of the evening was “A Night on the Diamond” — as in a baseball diamond.

The event was the VIP Preview Party introducing the items that will be available for silent and live bidding at the 37th annual Boys & Girls Club of SCV benefit auction, which will be held Saturday, June 14 at the Mann BioMedical Park. A number of these auction items were on hand at the preview to whet appetites, and the rest were introduced in the auction program booklets picked up at the door.

The live auction items on hand included a full-length mink coat, a Remington bronze sculpture, an autographed Eli Manning jersey and an autographed Cal Ripken Jr. jersey. But the vast selection of items that will be available at the auction includes diamonds, cars, vacations and — well, you name it. With the Lakers game in the background, good food provided by Salt Creek Grille, and the backyard bar buzzing, the evening was also about good people coming together for good times and, of course, a good cause.

As far as hosting the event at their home, Cheri Fleming noted that her husband is on the Boys & Girls Club Foundation Board, and that they have both been auction chairs in the past. But she stressed the value of the Boys & Girls Club programs and the value of the auction in funding those.

“It’s so vital and important to the Santa Clarita Valley. It’s one of the biggest events — and I’m so excited to see fresh faces here tonight. We know this event will be just as successful or even more successful than in the past,” she said.

Boys & Girl’s Club Chief Professional Officer Jim Ventress commended the Flemings for their assistance. “It’s just wonderful that Don and Cheri hosted this for us,” he said.

And then he also commended those other volunteers, too numerous to mention, who make it all work. “To accomplish something like this (the preview and auction), you’ve got to have leadership. Just look at the people — look at the crowd.”

Ventress said this would be his 24th Boys & Girls Club auction and that he was excited to find out how the head table would be done up by Lisa Dunlap, Carolyn Levine and the Catering and Decorations Committee.

Beyond catering the preview evening, Salt Creek Grille’s Greg Amsler and his wife Chell are this year’s auction co-chairs. Amsler said that he’s been a Boys & Girls Club Foundation board member for about five years, and explained that he and his wife had agreed to chair the auction last year, but that, about a week later they had to back out because of family commitments.

“So naturally we agreed to do it this year,” he said.

As the skies darkened and the Spurs’ hopes waned, Ivan Price, the new executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV Foundation, briefly interrupted the party to thank those responsible, stress the importance of the auction, and remind everyone how it would work. He noted that the Grand Slam Raffle winner would have his or her choice of any live auction item except the head table for the 2009 auction.

Then he let everyone get back to their food, friends, wine — and the cosmopolitans that Don Fleming was personally distributing to those in the mood.
The evening finished with the Lakers closing out the Spurs, and the general good mood promoted high expectations for the auction to come.

So, as you read this, there are only nine more days to plan your live auction purchase strategy.

Will you hang back and make auctioneer Mark Schenfeld beat the bushes for bids, or will you scare off the competition with your generosity right out of the starting gate? Will you scratch-in low-ball offers on a host of silent auction items, hoping one of them will squeak through, or will you raise the ante and then guard the bid board and threaten all comers with an upraised pen?

Whatever your strategy, just be sure you are there to play it out, because 3,500 boys and girls in the SCV will benefit — even if you get a bargain.

The SCV’s own Rick Chambers, news anchorman for KCAL 9, will be the auction’s master of ceremonies on Saturday, June 14 at Mann BioMedical Park, 25104 Rye Canyon Loop, Santa Clarita, CA 91355.

The “doors” to the outdoor event open at 5 p.m., bid boards also open at 5 p.m. and dinner is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Grand Slam Raffle closes at 7 p.m. The first bid board closing is at 7:15 p.m. The Live Auction begins at 7:30 p.m. and runs until about 10 p.m.


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