Keeping the hungry people of Jamestown fed is one of St. Susan Center's goals, and the organization's annual basket fair is one means to doing so.
The 10th annual Spring Ahead basket fair is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, beginning at 11 a.m. in the banquet hall of Chautauqua Suites, 215 W. Lake Road in Mayville. Bidding on the more than 120 baskets begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 1:45 p.m. The drawings begin promptly at 2 p.m. Lunches will be provided by Chautauqua Suites for an additional cost.
According to Sue Colwell, executive director for St. Susan Center, the event is one of the main fundraisers held each year to ensure that the organization can meet the growing needs of its community. The center serves, on average, more than 300 meals each day over the course of 361 days out of the year. Last year the center served more than 98,000 meals.
Pictured is Sue Colwell, St. Susan Center executive director, with a “Think Spring” basket donated by Pilgrim Memorial United Church of Christ.
"We're always looking for creative ways to raise money, and the basket fair has been a well-attended fundraiser," said Colwell. "Every year people look forward to it, and it's grown a lot since it started. We have between 400-500 people who attend. We couldn't keep our doors open without fundraisers, foundations and individuals."
The auction's announcer will be the Rev. Dayle Keefer, of the Fluvanna Community Church, who has participated for the past three years.
"Dale is just a riot," said Colwell. "He is a lot of fun, and keeps things moving."
This year's fair will have a great number of baskets and prizes available for its attendees, all of which were donated by local businesses, churches and community members. The grand prizes, with a combined value of $1,500, were contributed by Jamestown Savings Bank, which co-sponsored the event with Chautauqua Suites.
"We've got some really big grand prizes for the fair this year," said Colwell. "The top three prizes are a Phillips LCD 50-inch flat-screen TV, an Apple IPad 3rd Generation and a Kindle Fire HD with a $200 Amazon Gift Card. With so many great baskets and prizes everybody has a real good chance to win, and they're bound to have a lot of fun too."
Door prizes include a Keurig coffee maker, also donated by Jamestown Savings Bank, a men's and a lady's Pulsar watch contributed by Carlson's Jewelers in Jamestown and a complete bathroom vanity with sink from Smart By Design of Lakewood.
Up for bids are baskets stuffed with up to $200 worth of practical, comfortable and seasonal children's items and household items ranging from a miniature greenhouse to a luxurious lawn chair. For adults there are baskets full of lottery tickets, wine baskets, edible delicacies, personal care and luxury items.
Bob Johnson, of His Way Archers of Jamestown, said the ministry donated six family memberships, a $100 value each, because he thinks it's important to support the families in the community who are in need.
"We are a ministry, a chapter of Christian Bow Hunters of America, and what we are about is reaching out to those that are in need with the love and the grace of Jesus Christ," said Johnson. "So, anything we can do to help them, helps build the kingdom at the same time."
Megan Arnone, marketing manager for Harley Davidson of Jamestown, said that it donated a basket for motorcycle enthusiasts at value of $54. The business did so because it likes to give back to the community that has helped it celebrate its five-year anniversary.
"It's an organization that we like to support because we don't want anyone in the community going hungry," said Arnone. "It wouldn't have been possible to celebrate our 5-year anniversary without the customers in our community - so we like to do whatever we can to give back."
While adults enjoy the auction, there will be several children's activities to keep them entertained. Rainbow the clown will hold facepainting, an Apron lady who has fun gifts and treats in her pockets, coloring books and more.
Auction tickets are $7 for 10, which includes one free door prize ticket. Grand Prize tickets are $10 each, and can be purchased at the event or by calling St. Susan Center at 664-2253, ext. 4. Those who cannot attend the fair can access a catalog and absentee purchase forms at www.stsusancenter.org.
St. Susan Center's doors are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is located at 31 Water St. in Jamestown.