FWKCC is ‘Wild’ with auction Friday, May 12

As Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 30th anniversary, its planning some wild surprises for its annual silent and live auction and dinner gala this year.

“I’m very excited about this year's event,” Julie Blaylock, FWKCC president/CEO, said about “Born to Be Wild: Celebrating 30 Years of Navigating the Business Jungle,” which will take place starting at 6 p.m., Friday, May 12, at Rothchild Catering & Conference Center, 8807 Kingston Pike.

“This is our largest annual fundraiser and requires the most work, both from within the Chamber office and from our committee volunteers, so it is always gratifying to see the evening go off well,” Blaylock said.

“We'll definitely be calling special attention to our members who’ve been with us from the beginning, as well as 20- and 10-year members,” she said. “That kind of long-term support means more to us and this community than you can imagine.

“We'll be doing several new things this year, including moving away from a formal seated dinner to ‘Wild’ food stations and spreads,” Blaylock added. “My hope is to offer a little bit of something for everyone and allow for even more mingling and conversation.

“We'll also be doing something we've never done before in the history of Chamber, or have been able to do. I'm really looking forward to sharing that with our guests and members.”

The theme, “Born to be Wild,” came from one of the Chamber ambassadors, Lynne Overton of Comfort Inn & Suites Knoxville West, Blaylock said.

“I'd mentioned our being ‘Born in 1987’ at a networking event and she suggested ‘Born to be Wild.’ We amended it to include ‘30 Years of Navigating the Business Jungle.’ It had a fun and exciting feel to it and provided all kinds of opportunities for businesses to tie into the theme, be it adventure, the tropics, animals or travel,” she said.

The Chamber has also changed the date of the event, which was previously held in April.

“April was a very busy month for area events,” she said. “Especially since this is our 30th anniversary year, we wanted the town of Farragut and as many supporting businesses as possible to be able to be present. The May date has allowed us a little more planning time, too.”

There also will be some returning favorites, such as Bear Stephenson of Stephenson Realty & Auction in Clinton as auctioneer and Rick Terry, owner of Rick Terry Jewelry Designs, who will feature gorgeous freshwater pearl bracelets.

“He’ll only have 50 for sale for $25 each, which will be perfect for anyone searching for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift that weekend. They’ll be gift-wrapped and will stay closed until he instructs everyone to open them together,” Blaylock said.

“When they do, one person will have a note saying they’ve won the lion’s share, a $2,000 white gold and diamond pendant,” she added. “I’m so excited for whoever that individual will be.”

Attending the gala supports the Chamber’s continuing education scholarships, Blaylock said. A portion of each ticket sold goes to The Butterfly Fund at East Tennessee Foundation, established at East Tennessee Foundation to raise awareness of and funds for childhood cancer.

“They're a really special area non-profit and we want to maximize our donation to them,” she said.

Advance tickets are $60 each or a table of 10 can be reserved for $550. The deadline to RSVP or cancel with a refund is May 5. Ticket price is the same up to day of the auction, Blaylock said.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 865-675-7057 or by visiting www.farragutchamber.com