Annual event to ring in the holiday with food, auctions

0Auctioneer David Wilson and DJ Norman Short are frequent sightings at the annual holiday event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford. Submitted photo

MILFORD — Ringing in the holidays wouldn’t be the same without the annual Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford hosted by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford.

Now in its 12th year, the event will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Rookery North in Milford and serves as a way to raise funds for both the chamber and a local cause. This year’s beneficiaries — Heroes for Hooters — said they’ll be donating a portion of their proceeds from the event to Code Purple in Kent County.

The organization was founded in 2013 by breast cancer survivor Cindy Lupinetti and friend Susanne Whitney after hosting a successful breast cancer awareness fundraiser in conjunction with local police officers and firefighters.

After they raised more than expected, Heroes for Hooters was born, hoping to continue teaming with first responders to raise money to fight breast cancer. The organization is now run by Ms. Lupinetti, Kim Wilmire and Carole Thompson.

“Heroes for Hooters is a non-profit member who is very passionate about what they do – raise money and awareness for breast cancer with the help of local first responders including police, firefighters, EMS and [members of] the military. They inquired about the event, filled out the beneficiary application and was chosen by the chamber’s Donations & Contributions Committee,” CCGM Executive Director Jo Schmeiser said.

As in years past, the chosen organization will help host the event by collecting some of the items for the silent auction and providing volunteers during the event.

“We often hear people say this is their favorite event in Milford that they look forward to each holiday season, so we do our best to continue making it a fun event that people want to attend. And the fact that we are a unique chamber of commerce that gives back to the community, making donations to our local non-profit members from proceeds from our major events including the Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford definitely makes it worthwhile,” Ms. Schmeiser said.

“In addition to our wonderful members, the support of the community is awesome, like Dave Wilson being our auctioneer for the 12th time, Claudia [Leister] and Yvonne [Lynch] from the Milford Museum helping us with the action displays and set-up again this year, Norm Short from Delmarva Broadcasting Company will be returning as our Emcee and our Honorary Mayor Debbie Heinsch working as chairperson again this year just to name a few.”

She said she hopes the 12th annual Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford will include more than 100 silent auction items, 10-15 live auction items, at least 10 food vendors, up to 25 gift cards for the Gift Card Table and up for 20 bottles of liquor for the Surprise Table of Cheer.

New food vendors confirmed for this year’s event include Easy Speak Spirits, Kick-N-Chicken, Country Cupcakes and Etta’s Catering. Food vendors who have supported the event in the past and will do so again this year include Mr. Bar-B-Que, Delmarva Popcorn, NKS Distributors and the Rookery North.

Corporate Sponsors include Bayhealth, BK Rentals & Party Supplies, The Chronicle and Delmarva Broadcasting. Other sponsors include, but are not limited to, Sound-N-Secure, Techno Goober, Larson’s Mower Shop, Del-One Federal Credit Union, Delaware Hospice, SC Associates and SeaWatch.

“Being able to give back to a local non-profit,” is Ms. Schmeiser’s favorite part of the event, she said.

“They gain exposure from the marketing and they’ll also receive a monetary donation, so I hate to be cliché, however it is surely a win-win. Over the last 11 years, we’ve donated over $33,000 back into the community from this event, and being a non-profit ourselves, it’s pretty amazing that we support so many of our local non-profits.”

Although this event rounds out the CCGM’s larger events for the year, they’re not done just yet.

They will host a Holiday Gift Giving Mixer at Coldwell Banker Resort Realty Thursday, Dec. 6 and a New Member Orientation at Milford Place Tuesday, Dec. 18. The organization is headed into 2018 with all of its business mixers booked and guest speakers for its monthly Sunrise Seminars confirmed, Ms. Schmeiser said.

“We are also changing PRO (Professionals Reaching Out), to PRO On the Go next year. Chairperson Frank Payton with Techno Goober is planning a ‘field trip’ each month, so instead of meeting at the chamber, members will be heading to at least 11 different member locations to take tours and then have a Q & A session. This will be a great opportunity for members to see exactly what’s going on inside other members businesses and organizations,” she said.

“The chamber is also planning the 2019 Community Expo, Girls Night Out, the Golf Classic, the Riverwalk ‘Freedom’ Festival, Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford, and our quarterly luncheons including the Workforce Development Forum Luncheon in February, the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon in April, the Legislative Update Luncheon in July and the General Membership Luncheon in October.”
The honorary mayor program will also return in 2019.

Tickets for the Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford can be purchased at the CCGM office at 24 NW Front St. in Milford or by calling 302-422-3344.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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