The 2019 Strawberry Festival: Having fun and helping others

February 22, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

The 2019 Strawberry Festival Silent Auction will definitely belie its name. In fact, when festival goers enter the tent with more than 75 amazing items, there will be lots of “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” and very little silence.
“The contributions to this year’s silent auction have exceeded our expectations,” says Lois Raedeke, the Silent Auction chairperson. “We can’t wait to open the tent flaps and invite everyone in to see – and bid on – our treasures.”
The Strawberry Festival, in its 21st year, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 on the grounds of the Boca Grande Community Center and in the Crowninshield House. The auction will be in a large tent adjacent to the Crowninshield House.
This year’s silent auction includes 30 items created by local artists and craftsmen. A stunning watercolor beach scene by the late artist Wini Smart is one of three pieces of her work up for bid. An island favorite, Jane Carlson, has also contributed a beautiful piece of art. Her work will be featured alongside that of other well-known local artists including Cecilia Bisset, Gail Cleveland, John Mitchell Sr., Carroll Swayze and Susan Shaffer.
Melinda Thies’ painting of the Old Railroad Trestle is especially intriguing, inasmuch as she kayaked out to get an up-close view of the underside of her subject. Rocky Dedrick’s oil of two Labrador retrievers in a canoe will delight dog lovers. Pamela Campbell, known for her ability to capture an animal’s soul on canvas, is offering to paint a portrait of some lucky bidder’s favorite pet.
Other very special items include a Clemson football from the 2018 national college football champs, autographed by Coach Dabo Swinney – a Boca Grande resident.
“These footballs are becoming more valuable and harder to get. We are grateful to Nat Italiano and the coach for this wonderful donation,” said Jane Caple, auction committee member.
Another unusual item, sure to attract a lot of attention, is an 1891 lithograph of a Bird of Paradise by artist John Gould. It was donated by Jan Myers. Bidders also will be admiring handmade jewelry by Danni Ervin and Nancy Ireland, golf club covers by Kim Hume, a handmade yellow throw by Bev Furtado, a hand-tooled maple bowl by George Benisek, a needlepoint by Pat Witschonke and a child’s rocker by Peggy Seybolt, among others.
Trips: Festival goers looking for adventure will find plenty to their liking, including fishing and boating trips as well as golf outings and tennis and yoga lessons. This year’s auction includes two oceanfront rooms for two nights at the five-star Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, as well as two nights at the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Five days and four nights are offered at a four-bedroom, 1890s townhouse in Chicago. A beautiful New York condo is available for three days.
Meals: Want to entertain friends but don’t have the energy? Local “chefs, along with the real deal, Chef J. T. Turner, are offering to host eight to ten people in their homes for delicious dinners. Among those dinners are a seafood extravaganza for ten in the home of Elsa and Peter Soderberg, with a performance by the Boca Beaux quintet, and a “Julia Child” feast in the home of Marsy and Dennis Doan with a bagpipe performance by Deb Houck.  J. T. will be preparing at Italian dinner for ten at the home of Jane Caple and Jim Cochrun. You and your friends will enjoy these special evenings.
Local restaurants also are offering gift certificates, and many businesses, including Courtyard Hair, have provided beautiful gift baskets. There is also fabulous jewelry, along with many items for your home.
Bid closing times are 1 p.m., 1:20 p.m. and 1:40 p.m.
While the silent auction is considered one of the premier draws of the Festival, attendees also will enjoy shopping in the bargains and boutique areas, browsing through the Book Nook, “digging” for jewelry, fun for kids and consuming hot dogs and brats and lots of homemade strawberry shortcake.
Proceeds from this event sponsored by the United Methodist Women go to charities that benefit women and children in need. So come and make some noise and put in your bid at the 2019 Strawberry Festival.