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The Hospice Christmas Auction returns next weekend with an open house, then a tree and quilt auction

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Friday evening open house is a time for the public to stop by the Hospice Christmas Auction site and see the trees free of charge.

The St. Charles Hospice Christmas Auction has set a goal of raising $100,000 this year.

If past events are any indication, they should be able to reach that goal.

"It has grown considerably over the years," said event coordinator Brandi Ebner.

The Hospice Christmas Auction events will take place on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, at the Crook County Fairgrounds Indoor Arena. It features a variety specially crafted Christmas trees by local individuals, businesses and organizations that are available for bid as well as quilts and numerous silent auction items.

"The goal of the auction is to raise funds for the care of patients in Hospice and then the transitional patients," Ebner said. "We really cover the financial expenses that insurance doesn't. There are a lot of families in town who have a loved one in Hospice care, and with our help, they don't have to worry about those extra bills."

The Hospice Auction is sporting a "Cozy Christmas" theme this year, with red and white snowflakes, Ebner said. This will be the 28th annual event.

Kicking off the auction on Friday evening is an open house, a free event where the public is invited to come to the arena and check out all the elaborately crafted trees and other auction items. It begins at 4:30 p.m. and concludes at 6:30 p.m.

"Everything will be 100% set up," Ebner said. "It's really just a community open house for everybody to be able to come out and see these gorgeous trees and quilts and learn about their history. Some of them are done in memory of some amazing community members."

Open house visitors will be able to purchase raffle tickets, but Ebner stressed that they will not be able to bid on the trees and quilts, nor bid on silent auction items, as those bids are reserved for the Saturday evening auction event.

The local Sweet Adelines singing group will perform Christmas songs at the open house, and visitors can choose from an assortment of refreshments including cookies, hot cocoa, cider and coffee.

Saturday night, entry to the indoor arena will be reserved for ticket holders to the Hospice Auction. Ebner anticipates about 650-700 will attend the auction. Doors will open at 5 p.m., dinner will be served by Cody's Catering at about 6 p.m., and silent auction bidding will close at 6:30 p.m.

"Then, we will welcome up Todd Shields, our new director of (St. Charles Prineville), and start off the live auction at 7 p.m.," Ebner said.

Dr. Paul Slater of Slater Chiropractic will once again emcee the event, and Dennis Turmon is back as auctioneer. Studio Jay DJ and Sound will again handle the sound system and play Christmas music. Ochoco Brewing Co. will provide alcoholic beverages.

Ebner went on to highlight other key volunteers who have helped ensure the Hospice Christmas Auction remains a success. She noted that Rick Bacerra, owner of Ricky B's Restoration and Supplies, has regularly helped set up the auction.

"He comes in every single year and does all of the layout and has a crew come in and make sure everything is set up perfect," she said. "We could not do this without Rick's crew. He has it to a science."

Ebner made special mention of Fred and Luanne Cavanaugh, as well, stressing that they help with setup and are key volunteers.

In addition, Ebner gushed about the support of the community and how it has contributed to the success of the Hospice Christmas Auction.

"We have been so grateful that this community has supported this auction for 28 years," she said. "The amount of money it has raised is well into the million-plus range, and it couldn't happen without all of our community members stepping up the way they do."


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