The Virtual Auction held on-line this past Friday night was certainly a great time for all that participated.  Bob’s presence was obvious to all for Bob McCarthy’s 16th annual Irish Christmas.    The auction started promptly at 7:00 PM hosted by Brooks LeFeber of along with Jill Dunn and Greg Cappelli from The Rotary Club of Ellicottville.

At a frantic pace the bids started to climb and on all accounts was just a plain fun way to conduct an auction.  Current limitations did not hold back some, who arranged friends bubble party so they could bid against each other in traditional fashion.  A small group even gathered at Silver Fox Steakhouse to ensure that they did not miss out on the great wines donated by Mike & Sally and paired with a McCarthy original birdhouse donated by Edna Northrup.  Wouldn’t you know it Brooke Szpaicher won it at $325.00!  The hit of the auction was the “Dine EVL Basket”, that sold for $650 to Doug & Carolyn while a new Charles Dickens book “A Christmas Carol”, did not reach the heights of last year’s antique that sold for $525.00 but Victor Arena mad an $80.00 donation to buy it..  Hugh Dunn’s Live Edge Table sold for a bargain price to a dealer from Portville who knew it’s true value.  The Great Wooden Bow Pie Boxes created by Ed Frederickson, once again were a hot item with both selling to locals.  The Traditional Irish Whiskey Basket donated by Cynthia & Mike, sold for $350.00 to a very thirsty family.

It was obvious that many of our benefactors opened up their hearts and wallets to support Rotary’s Santa’s workshop & the Sheriff Santa program.  The auction brought in just shy of $4,500.00 surpassing expectations.  Additionally, a number of generous people chose to donate directly to the Rotary for Santa’s Workshop   These donations normally continue through the end of the year, so we anticipate being very close to reaching our goal.  In this crazy year, that is truly amazing.

This year’s event could not have happened without Ed Frederickson, who once again used his creative genius and woodworking skills to put together an array of hand-made gems in the Bob tradition for the auction.  PandaGoat Media, that is Brenda Perks and Meghan Lucarelli did a great job on bringing the concept to life with great artwork and promotional material.  Heather Sullivan of Heather J Sullivan Consulting worked her magic with the Website and Facebook and kept the event and the rest of us on track.  Brooks LeFeber hosting the auction, made the event a lot of fun doing his impression of Dan Aykroyd in his Trading Places Santa suit.  We hope we can go back to EBC for a live auction next year, so Brooks can show his stuff live.

As is always the case our great local publications, The Villager and Ellicottville NOW went above and beyond promoting the event, we appreciate their unquestioned support, year after year.

A special thanks to Katy Arena of Katy’s Café & Katy’s Fly-In who worked with Ellicottville’s local bakers (too many to thank but you know who you are) whose special desserts are done as a tribute to their friend Bob and this tradition.  We do have to mention Chef Tom Kneeland, Katy Arena and Annie Cole of Cupcaked who created some outstanding desserts.  We thank the many local businesses who hosted the auction items and the promoted the event on our behalf. Thank you to our great Restaurant partners who donated a gift card for the Dine Ellicottville Basket.

When asked how this started, McCarthy would answer “It started with a little magic”.  To be sure the magic came in the form of Ellicottville’s residents, both permanent and part timers who bid or donated to the cause.  The real magic is that this event is helping a number of local families have a better Christmas through Santa’s Workshop who this year helped 31 Families/81 individuals.  Rotary also makes a donation to help the Sheriff’s Santa program.  If you want to donate send a check to Rotary @ PO Box 101, Ellicottville, NY 14731 or online

Bob, we all miss you but we will continue your tradition of giving.  The Rotary Club of Ellicottville wishes all of you a great holiday season – Thank you Ellicottville!!

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