Going, going, gone! Auction raises funds for Community Christmas Project

By Julia Green
Margaretville’s Community Christmas Project held its annual Jimmy DiGiacomo Auction at the Inn Between on Sunday evening raising over $5,500 to benefit the Christmas project.
“With the economy the way it is and the weather being kind of blustery and cold, I think we did OK,” said Marilyn Pitetti, chair of the auction committee. “I think a lot of people who would have showed up didn’t because of the roads, but we did OK.”
With roughly 55 people in attendance, the evening featured hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, as well as music by Wendy Nief & Nite Life and a 50-50 raffle. Local attorney Dennis Metnick and Belleayre Superintendent Tony Lanza served as auctioneers.
The evening’s big-ticket items were an overnight stay at the Emerson Resort & Spa with dinner for two at the Phoenix Cafe, six months of MTC cable service, and a weekend stay for four at Frost Valley YMCA, including meals and activities. Also popular were package deals, such as ski packages and a combo item including movie rentals, pizzas and bowling vouchers.
“Those three items were the big-ticket items,” Pitetti said. “There was also a washer and dryer donated, which will be raffled.”
The washer and dryer, donated by Jacquish Appliance Sales, was one of the last items to be auctioned, and organizers opted to hold off on selling it due to the dwindling crowd.
“We’ll put that in a raffle and sell tickets during the year to raise more money,” Pitteti said.
The 50-50 raffle held during the auction ended up benefiting the Community Christmas Project 100 percent instead when winning ticket holder Colleen McDaniel donated the cash prize back to the Christmas Project.
The annual auction traces its origins back to the late 1990s and the late Jimmy DiGiacomo, who began the tradition somewhat out of the blue.
“They were at a restaurant in Fleischmanns and Jimmy filled up a container with Fleischmanns water and raffled off the water to raise money for the Community Christmas Project,” Pitetti said. “That’s where it all started.”
DiGiacomo led the event for a few years thereafter, holding community auctions at the Owl’s Nest restaurant in Highmount. The event has since been held at the Binnekill Square Restaurant, Belleayre Mountain, Hanah Country Inn, the Purcell Center and the Inn Between.
Event organizers indicated that they are considering exploring new fundraising ideas in place of the auction next year.