While no firm figures are available as yet it was clear that Saturday's Denim and Diamonds Gala to befit the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation was a record-setter. In one bidding war alone someone paid $2500.00 for a cake offered during the "Desert Frenzy" that kicked off the live auction. Then the baker offered to make another cake and the second bidder agreed to buy that one bringing in a total between just those two auction sales some $5000.00 to the foundation. For a cake. It was obvious that those bidding on all the items offered up for sale were thinking less about what they might be buying at the Gala and more about what those dollars would mean to the community with the dollars targeted to adding critical services for cancer patients.
The new venue may have played a role. For many years the Foundation hosted a combination golf tournament and dinner auction at Astoria Golf and Country Club which was always fun but after several years in need up an update. The foundation board agreed to separate the events and build on the dinner/auction portion teo years ago moving the event to the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, expanding the silent auction, separating the art into it's own silent bidding and reserving the live action for other items. The evening featured a buffet provided by Chef Chris Holen of the Baked Alaska and the event is re-themed into "Cowboy Chic" where participants are encourage to dress comfortably in western wear and bring out the bling, hence, "Denim and Diamonds" became the theme that has obviously resonated with patrons who have filled the fairgrounds exhibit hall two years running.
The hospital foundation has said the fundraiser would primarily benefit CMH efforts to add radiation treatments for oncology patients who would then be able to avoid making the trip to Portland and get their treatment close to home.