Le Grand Picnic nets more than $190,000
By Mary-Justine Lanyon
It was a perfect day for a picnic – lots of sunshine (in keeping with the theme of this year’s Le Grand Picnic) and no wind.
At the end of the 60s-themed event – which featured lots of tie-dye, beads and headbands – the Mountains Community Hospital coffers were $192,690 richer.
As folks strolled through the hospital’s rose garden, they filled their plates with delectable samplings from the mountain’s restaurants. There were sliders and tacos, ribs and bruschetta, smoked chicken and crab salad cups.
The guests’ sweet tooth was not forgotten with smores, cookies and fruit salad.
As for quenching their thirst, guests could choose from wine, beer, martinis, margaritas and a bubbly bar.
With their appetites satisfied, the event’s emcee, Gloria Loring, got down to business. First, she announced the silent auction had closed. It featured everything from restaurant gift cards to wall hangings and paintings, a handmade quilt to TED Talk tickets, concert tables to hair salon gift certificates.
All told, the silent auction raised $12,900.
Loring then introduced the auctioneer, Suzanne Krainock, who interspersed a great deal of humor into her patter. Krainock, a member of the National Auctioneers Association, specializes in charity fundraising.
Things got off to a great start with dinner for eight at Lake Arrowhead Country Club going for twice its published value – $1,600.
All 14 of the live auction items went for hefty prices, with several exceeding their values. Krainock was able to double the impact of four items, offering them to two bidders. A one-year golf membership at Lake Arrowhead Country Club went to two bidders for $4,500 each. An interior design consultation with Studio Grania Murray went to two bidders for $400 each, as did a brow microblading and facial at Lake Arrowhead Brow and Beauty Bar. And MCH Foundation board member Midge Reisman agreed to do two pet or person portraits for $1,200 each – the published value was $500.
DJ Clay had chosen and played appropriate 60s music for each auction item, making the event that much more fun.
Krainock then began the Fund Our Need reverse auction. The money raised this year will go toward funding a 3D mammography system. The hospital’s current 2D system has exceeded its life; the manufacturer may not be able to provide parts or repairs. The 3D system is said to be more accurate, detecting 20 to 65 percent more invasive breast cancers compared to 2D.
“It’s also supposed to be more comfortable,” Loring told the Le Grand Picnic guests. “Ladies, you know what I mean!”
The first bidders were Midge and Ed Reisman at $10,000. They were quickly followed by two at $5,000, three at $2,500 and 15 at $1,000. Other bidders came in at $500, $250 and the ever-popular $100.
A total of $52,000 was raised in the reverse auction. The pot was sweetened when Loring announced that MCH Foundation board member Andrea Willerth would match that, with those funds going toward the Donald Willerth Educational Center.
The Educational Center will give MCH space to offer continuing education to its staff and health and wellness classes – like first aid and CPR – to the community. The proposed plan is to build the center on top of a new parking structure, to be built near the medical office building.
The final business of the evening was to announce the winner of the gold coin worth more than $1,500 – Jack Herson of the Mountain Jewish Community.
Participating restaurants included Bill’s Villager, The Grapevine, Kevin Sharkey Sommelier, Lake Arrowhead Country Club, Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, Lulubelle’s Mountain Bakery, Pali Retreat, Papagayo’s, Puglia, RB’s Steakhouse, SkyPark at Santa’s Village, Stone Creek Bistro, Sycamore Ranch Vineyard & Winery, The Tudor House, Top Town Chef and UCLA Conference Center.