The Calypso Fantasy Auction will be celebrating its silver anniversary on April 30.
The Calypso Foundation, based in Lewisporte, provides individuals with developmental disabilities with employment and vocational opportunities. The foundation has been serving the area for 33 years and currently has 25 people who participate in the program on a full-time basis.
Event coordinator Angie Welsh is working hard to make the celebration, scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 30 at the Lewisporte Kinsmen Center, a success.
"We are going to host the auction, but we are also celebrating because 25 years is a big accomplishment," said Ms. Welsh.
Ms. Welsh is originally from Embree and has a background in criminology. She moved home from Ontario in 2006 and now resides in Lewisporte with her husband Nathan and daughter Emily.
"The response from businesses has been great so far," said Ms. Welsh. "Many donors are more then happy to donate and are very willing to get a package together promptly for the event. It doesn't have to be a donation of items either, anyone can make a cash donation to help support Living Skills."
As the event coordinator, Ms. Welsh is responsible for preparation of the auction booklet, event planning and to provide information on programs and the Calypso Auction. She said she has thoroughly enjoyed the experience so far and looks forward to the months ahead.
"I love it, I love it, I love it," she said. " I really enjoy it here."
Donations pouring in
Calypso manager Colleen Barrett said previous donors have come onboard with the auction once again, with many new packages to offer.
"Even before we were sending out requests for donations, we were already getting people sending things in," said Ms. Barrett. "We are looking to have something for everybody."
Ms. Barrett and Ms. Welsh have been busy putting together a variety of uniquely themed packages for the auction, available in a variety of price ranges.
"The Disney Theme Park tickets valued at $600 are new, but West Jet is our partner once again for the third time as our door prize for two tickets anywhere West Jet flies," said Ms. Colleen. "We have four economy class Via Rail tickets this year for a return trip from Halifax to Montreal and we will have our usual artwork, hotel packages and we are hoping for some additional unique packages like birthday party specials."
Last year the auction raised $17,000 and Ms. Barrett and Ms. Welsh hope to surpass that amount this year.
"The event is open to the general public and the auction will be a celebration of our annual event," said Ms. Barrett. "It is the 25th annual auction and we are celebrating those 25 years."
This years auctioneers include Roger Barnett and Don Manuel. Mr. Manuel was the auctioneer at the first Calypso Auction.
"The first auction was held June 13, 1985 and they raised $5,000," said Ms. Barrett. "So it's great to have Mr. Manuel as the auctioneer of this event 25 years later.
"It's also to celebrate the commitment from our sponsors over the years and it's wonderful to see other sponsors eager to take part."
The event organizers will host its third annual Wine Tasting event before the Fantasy Auction.
"There has always been a very favourable response from the auction participants, so we decided to continue with the wine tasting again this year," said Ms. Barrett. "We will also be having a silent and live auction again this year. It's great that it has grown from such a small event to a gala evening."
Tickets for the auction will be available in April and all proceeds go to the Calypso Living Skills Program to help assist participants in achieving their potential given their abilities and skills.
"Essentially, it's for individuals with more significant developmental disabilities," said Ms. Barrett. "There is absolutely no government funding for the program, but it has been around since 1984 and it's because of the auction that the program can continue here at the Calypso."
For further information regarding the Calypso Foundation or the 25th Annual Calypso Fantasy Auction contact Ms. Barrett at 535-2604 or Ms. Welsh at 535-0933.