The Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation’s annual Holiday Fantasy is going to look a little different this year — but organizers are hoping the new, virtual format will allow more people than ever to get involved in supporting their local community.
Normally, the event is hosted at Emerald Downs, but the coronavirus pandemic necessitated a change in plans.
“The great thing about going virtual — even though it doesn’t have the same feel to us, we’ll be missing that community feeling — but a lot more people get to participate this year,” said Sara Stratton, the new executive director of RFWF. “I imagine our silent auction will probably get a lot more interest and participation than in the past, when you had to purchase tickets and attend the Emerald Downs event. I think that’s one real positive.”
Holiday Fantasy will be operating in two phases this year.
The first is the silent auction, which starts Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. and ends Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.
The second phase is the live auction, which is being held on Dec. 4 from 7 to 8 p.m.
Both are being hosted on Max Giving. You can start perusing items being put up for auction by heading to www.rainierfoothillswellness.maxgiving.bid/about-us, but here’s a quick teaser:
• This year’s big prize is a 2021 Gulf Stream Amerilite Travel Trailer.
“Over the course of the spring and summer, when everybody was on quarantine, you could not get your hands on them,” Stratton said. “They were just flying off the lots.”
While the fair market value for the trailer starts at around $20,000; bidding will begin at half that.
• Another large item is a four-night stay at the Ezulwini Lodges in South Africa.
“This package consists of four nights at the Ezulwini Game Lodges for two guests,” the online item description reads. “The stay is comprised of two nights at Ezulwini River Lodge and two nights at Ezulwini Billy’s Lodge, both in a private thatched roof luxury chalet.”
Airfare is not included in this package, valued at $4,800.
• Then there’s the “winemaker’s weekend” where you and your friends head to Cana Lodge in Paterson, WA, “just steps away from the home vineyard of Water from Wine, an award winning missional winery that donates 100 percent of all wine sales to fund water projects in developing countries around the world,” the package description reads. “Package includes two breakfasts and one gourmet dinner for all guests, private wine tasting & vineyard tour with Water from Wine founders and tips for the ultimate self-guided Prosser Valley winery tour.”
This package is valued at $2,100.
• For those that are more materialistic, there’s also a Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill being put up for auction, along with a class by Lelan Ford Taylor, “smoker extraordinaire,” who will walk you through how to use your new grill.
“Learn how to properly smoke a brisket and add that notch to your own pitmaster belt,” the item description reads.
Bidding for the grill will start at $450.
• Finally, there’s quite the assortment of local artwork, lawn furniture, family portrait packages, beauty baskets, quilts, wine boxes, soap and mosaic making classes, games, chalk art classes, and more as some of the less expensive items.
For those who like to take a gamble, there’s also the Gift Card Tree.
“The past few years, we’ve done a Gift Card Tree, where we raffle off a tree loaded with gift cards. It’s usually around $1,000 in gift card value and the raffle is $25, so whoever wins obviously gets a heck of a steal,” Stratton said. “But this year’s focus on the Gift Card Tree is on supporting our local businesses… Every single gift card on the tree is a local, independently-owned business.”
All the money raised at the event will go toward RFWF’s various programs — this year’s goal is $100,000.
“This is by far our largest fundraiser of the year,” Stratton said. “It’s almost 30 percent of our annual budget, so it makes all our programs we do possible.”
The local nonprofit works to deliver hot meals to local seniors, provides food for low-income school children over the weekends, helps organize the weekly Full Bellies hot meal program for those in need at Calvary Presbyterian, and has a Care Van to take people without transportation to medical appointments in King and Pierce County.
For more information about Holiday Fantasy, head to https://www.rfwellnessfoundation.org/special-events/holiday-fantasy-2/.