A night of opulence awaits the Farragut area community when Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce presents The AUCTION: A Charity Gala & Dinner Affair.
The cocktail dress/black tie optional gala begins at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, in The Venue, 7690 Creekwood Blvd., Lenoir City, with about 250 attendees expected.
“We’re really excited about the changes this year and to give attendees a fun but upscale atmosphere,” FWKCC president/CEO Julie Blaylock said. “We’re thrilled to have Sam Furrow (owner of Mercedes-Benz Knoxville) as our live auctioneer.
“Sam is legendary in local auctions, and he only does a certain number of charity auctions a year, so we’re very grateful that he’s willing to do this for us and for Remote Area Medical (the chosen nonprofit),” she added.
Attendees will be welcomed to a classy dinner affair with hand-passed canapés, carving stations and more.
Tickets are on sale now for $75 each, a flat fee, regardless of member or non-member status. Chamber members can buy a table of 10 for $550, “so if a Chamber member wants to buy a table, he or she can fill it with members and non-members,” Blaylock said.
A non-member can buy a table of 10 for $700. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Friday, Sept. 16. They can be purchased online at farragutchamber.com.
The event is sponsored by TDS Telecom, presenting sponsor; event sponsors are Home Marketing Group, LLC., Town of Farragut and Knox County government; community sponsors are Crown Title Insurance Agency, FirstBank Farragut, NHC Place Assisted Living Farragut, Simmons Bank and Faith Promise Church Farragut campus.
The AUCTION, the Chamber’s annual signature event for 35 years, features favorite returning elements — the silent auction, which starts at 6 p.m., and the live auction, which starts around 7:45 p.m. — however, Blaylock said the layout of the silent auction items will be more spread out than before.
“We expect to have 75 to 100 items this year,” ranging from gift cards to baskets,” she added. “We have a lot of unique items.”
The live auction will spotlight eight items, such as a luxury cabin vacation, high-dollar service items and a pair of ecologically man-made diamond earrings from Rick Terry Jewelers.
Blaylock said last year, for the first time, the Chamber increased its donations, giving 10 percent of both ticket and all item sales, including 100 percent of some live items, to each of two non-profits. That donation will continue this year with 20 percent of ticket and item sales going to Remote Area Medical, a local, major nonprofit organization operating pop-up clinics that provide free dental, vision and medical services to those in need — plus veterinary care to their furry companions — “no questions asked,” she said. “The money raised will specifically fund RAM’s Knoxville clinic, which will take place Jan. 13-15, 2023, at the Jacob Building.”
She also hopes to include lunch with Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Farragut Mayor Ron Williams as a live auction item, from which 100 percent of the proceeds go to RAM.
“We hope people will bid high and bid often,” she added.
Blaylock said she wants the Chamber to “allow us to give a larger portion back to a member nonprofit.
“If we keep the event simple but upscale, black tie and classy, hopefully that will attract items, attendees and bids that will let us cut a bigger check to a member nonprofit and really share the wealth and the benefits of what this fundraiser does,” she added.
The dinner itself will feature an “absolutely amazing” menu from Classy Caterer’s Trisha Kelly, Blaylock said.
Those attending can expect such fare as oyster shooters, mashtini and other elegant dining choices from the self-serve stations.
This year, FWKCC has moved away from having a theme.
“We used to have a theme every year, which was a lot of fun and people came to expect it, but this being an event we do every year — and it’s our biggest signature fundraising event — part of the planning process every year was coming up with a new, fresh theme we hadn’t done recently that no other major fundraisers were focused around,” Blaylock said. “That’s a challenge in terms of event planning.
“Over the years, we’ve just tried to figure out ways this event could stand on it’s own,” she said. “And, everybody in our community who knows us has always called it ‘the auction’ … we thought ‘why not embrace that and also take it back to being a more upscale event.”