The Saturday wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres pre-auction party, was attended by 150 people who enjoyed mixing and mingling with fellow ExPats, Panamanians and some out of town visitors, including El Visitante Editor Jacob Ehrler and the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine Senior Editor Missy Sullivan. A remote broadcast of the auction items was cabled into the lobby lounge and Hexagon Room of the BCP Events Center to handle the overflow crowd. Live music was provided by Rich Cacianti at the keyboard and vocals by Yella Werder.
Following the wine tasting, attendees took seats in the theater where the four benefiting charities were introduced by the evening’s host, Mark Heyer. The charities are Amigos de Animales de Boquete (which conducts spay/neuter clinics that have reduced the street animal population by over 3,000 since it began four years ago), Buenos Vecinos de Boquete (which feeds over 80 elderly and handicapped people every month), Club Leones de Boquete (which focuses on education and is the driving force behind the new three-story library soon to open on the main street of Boquete) and Fundacion Pro-Integracion Handicap Center (which provides a place for socializing for the area’s handicapped individuals and contributes efforts to their health and wellbeing).
Next, corporate sponsors were introduced and presented with plaques of appreciation. The main event corporate supporter was Banco General, who was the first and largest corporate contributor through their Fundacion de Buenos Vecinos charity division. Other corporate sponsors included Bistro Boquete/Felipe Motta (the wine tasting sponsor), Boquete Quality Properties, Casa Solution, Chiriqui Storage, Financial Pacific, and Prestige Custom Builders.
The bidding began with a gourmet dinner for four catered by one of the area’s best chefs, Amelia Stroup. Another catered dinner for 20 brought high bids. A highlight of the evening was the bidding on a pound of Price and Susan Peterson’s famous Hacienda Esmeralda Geisha Coffee (which won both the Best of Panama and the Rainforest Alliance competitions this year)… the coffee sold at the auction for $360 per pound, a world record. Other items included a trip on Air Panama for two to the Contadora Island Inn, deep sea fishing and sailboat trips, artwork and several other travel awards. A total of 25 items were auctioned, raising almost $10,000.
Saturday night’s events were followed on Sunday afternoon by a series of sales venues held in a building on the Boquete fairgrounds and open to the entire community free of charge. The event’s big money maker was a Silent Auction of over three hundred items, ranging from gift certificates for hotels and restaurants throughout Panama to professional services, in addition to household and personal items. Featured were children’s activities, a patio sale of donated items, book sales, plant sales, and a sale of baked goods. Sales were brisk throughout the afternoon
A full bar was offered with beer, wine, and alcoholic beverages donated by Luchini Lescure of La Cabana Bar and Boquete Properties. In addition to an on-site grill offering hamburgers and hot dogs, food offerings included full tipico combination plates, sandwiches, chili, appetizer combos, and a banana ice cream dessert. Tables and chairs were arranged throughout the space, providing areas for friends and neighbors to mingle and spread pre-holiday cheer.
Hundreds of children, sporting bright faces adorned by Mona Lisa Portelance and her face-painting team, brightened the space. Santa Claus, perched onstage and overlooking the crowd, patiently listed to the Christmas wishes of children not otherwise occupied with the many children’s games. Also featured was a popular cake walk and photographs.
A highlight of the day was the lottery drawing for a gourmet holiday basket of holiday treats prepared by Emma’s Sin City catering.
The two-day event was organized by co-chairs Penny Barrett, Martine Heyer, and Bonnie Williams, ably assisted by 30 committee chairs and over one hundred volunteers.
In the past four years, Bid 4 Boquete has raised a total of $42,000 for charity. This year’s goal was to top this figure in this year alone… and they did! More than $55,000 was raised, and will be evenly divided among the four charities. Good work, Boquete!