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Chamber auction a big hit


Despite tough economy, community antes up $11,000 for Blueberry Fest


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Imlay City Chamber of Commerce Director Cynthia Pankala shares her excitement with the crowd during Blueberry Festival Fundraising Auction on Saturday. photo by Catherine Brakefield.

April 09, 2008
IMLAY CITY — The worst of times often bring out the best in people.

Organizers of the 2008 Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce Auction had been prepared for a less-than-successful event because of the continued slow economy.

Surprisingly, supporters turned out in large numbers Saturday at the Imlay City Eagles Hall, resulting in an unexpected financial bonanza for the chamber.

The biggest beneficiary of the successful auction fundraiser will be this year's Blueberry Festival, scheduled for Aug. 1-2. Other chamber activities will also get a boost.

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Possibly the happiest person on Saturday was chamber member Yvonne Wilson, who chaired the event and worked diligently to ensure its success.

"We were so thrilled with the turnout and with the generosity of the community," said Wilson. "The hall began to fill up at 6 p.m., and by 7:30 p.m. it was packed.

"Sometimes, when times are hard, people are willing to dig even deeper to help out," she said. "We are all proud of the efforts of the whole team. And we had a lot of fun, too."

On Monday, Wilson and chamber member LuAnn Valdez were crunching the numbers, determining exactly how much money will be going into the chamber's coffers.

An unofficial count estimated that just about $11,000 was raised at the auction, said Valdez, an officer at CSB Bank.

"There is still a little money yet to come in," said Valdez on Monday morning. "We could end up at more than $11,000."

Wilson noted, however, that the figure did not include certain expenses incurred by the chamber.

Newly hired chamber of commerce Director Cynthia Pankala was elated by the response to the event.

"I had a fabulous time and I felt it was a great, spirited auction," said Pankala. "We didn't know what to expect, because it's been a very challenging year for businesses. But it looks like this auction was comparable to the previous year."

Wilson noted that she later discussed the event with fellow auction committee members, to gather their input and suggestions for next year's auction.

"This went very well, but we can always try to make things better," said Wilson.

Wilson also hailed the efforts of food preparers and cheerleaders who both served the food and helped showcase the auction items.

"It was about a lot of people helping out," said Wilson.

For questions or to make a donation, contact Yvonne Wilson at 810-614-1716, or call the chamber office at 810-724-1361.

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