December 04. 2017 11:43PM

Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction returns for its 36th year

By JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent


Sandy Marshall, chair of the nonprofit, all-volunteer Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction on the set Monday of the 2017 auction, which begins today and goes through Saturday. (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)

BELMONT — The Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction returns Tuesday for its 36th year.

Through Saturday, the all-volunteer auction, which is being held at the Belknap Mall, will offer a variety of items to bid on while featuring special guests, including former Boston Bruin Steve Leach and several former New England Patriots.

The auction will be broadcast live on radio stations 104.9 The Hawk and WEEI 101.5 Sports Radio; livestreamed at https://livestream.com/lrpatv/ca2017; and also shown locally on Metrocast Channel 12 and LRPA Channel 25.

The culmination of “a year’s work by hundreds of people,” the auction exists because there continues to be a significant demand for the resources it’s able to muster, said Sandy Marshall, who chairs the non-profit auction’s board of directors and is the director of community relations for LRGHealthcare.

In 2017, the auction disbursed $440,000 to agencies to several regions of central New Hampshire to help children of all ages, she said, but received requests totaling $750,000 “and our goal is to fill all the requests.”

Past recipients of money raised by the auction are The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region; Laconia Police Relief Association; Health First Family Care of Franklin; Salvation Army; Lakes Region Child Care Services; Mrs. Santa Fund, Alton; St. Vincent de Paul Society; and the Tapply-Thompson Community Center in Bristol.

Every bid and every donation of an item for auctioning is significant, but some, by their size are more significant and for the past eight years and counting, the biggest single donation has been made by the fundraiser known as “Pub Mania.”

From 8 a.m. Thursday through 8 a.m. Friday, 31 teams, made up of 744 “culinary athletes” will occupy each of the bar chairs at Patrick’s Pub & Eatery in nearby Gilford and will be fed and entertained while supporting the auction through pledges.

In 2016, Pub Mania raised $276,267, which was about $36,000 more than the previous year and represented 56 percent of the auction’s revenue.

Allan Beetle, who co-owns Patrick’s with his brother Jeff, intends to set another record in 2017 for Pub Mania, which he bills as “the World’s Greatest Barstool Challenge.”

“Pub Maniacs,” said Marshall on Monday, “are a huge part of this auction.” She also recognized the Wilder Companies, which provided two large spaces at the Belknap Mall for the auction and CruCon Cruise Outlet, which is the auction’s presenting sponsor.

As she does every year, Marshall thanked all item donors and bidders and urged the latter to “bid high, bid often and bid from the heart.”

jkoziol@unionleader.com