VERO BEACH — Lucky high bidders went home with some terrific last minute Christmas presents, for themselves and others, at the Master’s Academy’s Glitz and Blitz Luxury Auction and Dinner, held this weekend at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
A gathering of more than 200 people attended the elegant evening fundraiser, which was chaired by beachside residents Leah Nelson and Pam Hill.
As guests shopped the large assortment of donated silent auction items during a socializing hour, they were treated to the dulcet sounds of talented harpist Eve Van Buren , whose four children attend Master’s Academy. A number of well-behaved children were also in attendance, dressed in their adorable holiday best, including Judy and Ed Hill’s sweet little 10-month old great-granddaughter Elia who was visiting with her parents from Connecticut.
“We at Master’s Academy feel so incredibly blessed,” said event chair Leah Nelson. “To have had the kinds of donations, support, attendance and generosity in this economy is nothing short of miraculous. It truly shows the heart of the school and this gracious community.”
In addition to bidding on a host of donated gift certificates to local restaurant and shops, packages from area physicians, gym memberships, and services from local businesses, guests also perused the numerous raffle items on display. Raffle tickets were selling quickly for chances to win coveted items such as a pair of exquisite sapphire earrings donated by Veranda, and the breathtaking seasonal floral arrangements, donated by William Bainbridge Steele, that graced each of the dining tables.
“I was excited about the variety of things to bid on from some of my favorite local businesses,” said Susan Harris, of Jetson’s TV & Appliance. “You could get a meal from the Lemon Tree, goodies from Shells and Things and skin care from Dr. Landsman. I also liked that the gathering was such a cross-section of the community; it was a real mix of business people, part-time residents from Johns Island, parents, retirees and people who were new to Vero Beach.”
Four buffet stations presented an outstanding gourmet surf and turf dinner highlighted by mouth-watering beef tenderloin and crab cakes, with a lush raspberry drizzled cheesecake for dessert. The food had all been donated by U.S. Foods and was catered by Chef Neil and Son of Fort Pierce.
Spirited bidding ensued after dinner on an impressive selection of high end-auction items, including extravagant travel destinations such as stays at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC, the Westin Causurina resort on Grand Cayman, the Palm Beach Four Seasons Resort, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, the Pink House on Jost Van Dyke (a tiny island between Virgin Gorda & St. Thomas), Point Grace Resort on the Island of Turks & Caicos, and a trip to the Bimini Bay Resort in the Bahamas aboard a private jet. Parents were also eagerly bidding on the comprehensive orthodontic treatments that had been donated by both Dr. Kay Betancourt and Wemmer Orthodontics.
After a very early accounting, event organizers were delighted to see that they had easily exceeded their initial $50,000 goal.
“I was deeply moved and gratified by the generously of our donors, many of whom were from far away,” said event co-chair Pam Hill. “They were motivated by the outstanding reputation of the Vero Beach community and the Master’s Academy’s dedication to moral values.”
Master’s Academy was established in 1998 and currently enrolls more than 300 Pre-K to 12th grade students from all over Indian River County. Proceeds will be used to advance campus life through technology improvements, scholarships, and curriculum enhancements.