News Column

Chamber auction tops $110K mark in bid valuesitems

July 10, 2014

By Ray Lamont, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.

July 10--Would you want the chance to bid on a photo safari to South Africa?

How about an original work from one of Cape Ann's finest artists? Or a hand-knotted Oriental carpet?

Those are just three of hundreds of items already valued at more than $110,000 and assured of being on the block next week when the Cape Ann Chamber hosts its annual auction, set for Friday, July 18, at 5 p.m. at The Essex Room at Woodman's in Essex.

The event will mark the chamber's 27th annual auction, which takes place each year as the business group's largest single fundraiser. This year's events will include a couple of new twists -- including a free auction preview planned for the night before as part of a Business After Hours networking gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. at the same site.

"That will be an opportunity for everybody to get together and get a sense of what the auction has to offer," said chamber executive director Ken Riehl, who came aboard last November and will be heading up his first auction, in his hometown to boot.

"It's also an opportunity for folks to pre-egister for the (auction) itself, which should take some of the craziness, if you will, out of the next night."

The other change, Riehl said, involves the online portion of the auction, which has run simultaneously with the live and silent auctions, but this time will be pushed back until September, Riehl said.

"That gives us a chance to perhaps reach people who might not be here or able to get here in the summer, when a lot of people are away or very busy," Riehl said. "Holding it, perhaps, right after the visitor season might give a chance for people to give some things a better look."

The July 18 main auction will bring together bidders from across Cape Ann and the North Shore hoping to go home with marquee auction items. Led by committee Chairman Tony Corrao, auction preparations are humming along, with hundreds of donated items already in hand and new packages arriving daily from chamber members and friends. The auction has, in the past, topped the $150,000 mark in bid values by the night of the event and has raised more than $90,000 in a single night for chamber programs.

"This is one of the premier social gatherings on Cape Ann," said Carol Morse, a staunch supporter of the auction for many years. "Last year was a great success on one of the best nights we had all summer. The bidding, the social interaction and catching up with friends was so wonderful to see."

The chamber auction items to date feature paintings by Cape Ann's leading artists, including Ken Knowles, John Terelak, Paul George, K.T. Morse, Carole Loiacono and John Nesta.

It will also include chances to bid on trips and adventures -- including the South Africa photo safari for two, valued at $5,945 and donated by Kathy Kingston, auctioneer.

Other items or packages up for grabs include the hand-knotted Oriental carpet from Landry & Arcari, various ticket packages for Red Sox and Bruins games, a wide range of local and out-of-town accommodation packages -- and, among many others, a chance to sit in as "editor for a day" at the Gloucester Daily Times.

Tickets for the 27th annual Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Auction on Friday, July 18, are $30 per individual or $300 for a reserved table of 10. Anyone looking to make a donation or attend the event should contact Kerry McKenna at or call 978-283-1601.

For a complete list of auction items, visit or

Times editor Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or at


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Source: Gloucester Daily Times (MA)

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