COLDWATER –Tibbits Took Flight in a big way Saturday night as more than 350 guests bid their way to one of the highest grossing fundraisers for the historic theatre, raising nearly $70,000 in Tibbits Opera House’s 35th Annual Auction.
Guests were greeted by a sharply dressed flight crew who provided first class treatment and entertainment. With travel posters, luggage and props commemorating military and civilian flight, the theme was carried throughout the entire theatre. Nearly 500 items were up for silent auction on the lower flight deck, previously known as the art gallery. Guests boarded the aircraft of Tibbits Airway for an entertaining live auction from stage led by Darren Spieth and Dan Satow, owners of Norton Auctioneers and Spieth & Satow Auctioneers.
Branch Area Career Center Culinary Arts students provided food representing world travels and the evening’s festivities included raffles, a photo booth and souvenir wine glasses with the Tibbits Takes Flight logo. The live auction even included the customary airline message for safe flight and a game with giveaway baggage to warm up the crowd.
Tibbits Executive Director Christine Delaney thanked attendees, volunteers and all who support the theatre. According to Delaney, “Last year Tibbits was busy 227 days and this year will be even higher as more people are discovering this beautiful theatre.” She explained, “All the wonderful programming that goes on in the theatre only covers the costs of the programs themselves. Keeping the building going, the maintenance, staff, lights and the immense heating bill we had last year, are covered by membership and events like this auction.” She encouraged the audience to remember as they bid “it’s for a great cause—this building and the arts it provides.”
Dinners and special experiences highlighted the items up for bid and garnered some very generous donations. High bids for the evening came on the Barton S. Tibbits sponsorship, a shopping experience at Kiess Jewelry, a complete orthodontic treatment for which donor Dr. Baron Whateley offered a second to the alternate bidder. Other top items were two separate dinners donated by Kathy and Rick Merrill and another offered by JR and Jennifer Colbeck. These donors also offered second items to the alternate bidders.
Tibbits Special Events/Development Director Sarah Zimmer said, “I am grateful for everyone who helped make this event such a success—the volunteers who put in tremendous hours, as well as all the donors and bidders. The generosity of this community and their support of Tibbits is inspiring.”
This year’s auction committee under Zimmer’s leadership included Christine Lewis, Teri Dobson, Lori Groholski, Leon Kriser, Linda Lintner, Candace Newkirk, Marilyn Ostrander, Samantha Satow, Vena Wade, and Sheila Walrack. Office volunteers included Jesse Martinez, Darene Sargent and Marisue Taylor. In addition to these, nearly 100 volunteers helped make the event a success by gathering donations, decorating the theatre, selling raffle tickets or working the night of the event.
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