There were no fire engines in the bays at the Lake George Firehouse yesterday. The company’s fleet was parked outside to make room for rows of banquet tables displaying cellophane-wrapped baskets, gift cards and other prizes along with a more than 200 people, most holding tickets that could win them a prize or two. The occasion was the Lake George Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary Basket and Dessert Day, a Chinese auction-style fundraiser to benefit the Auxiliary’s Community Needs Fund.
This year’s event featured 206 baskets donated by local businesses and individuals. Several baskets were filled with bottles of wine and spirits; others were geared towards children with games and craft projects. Dog parents had the opportunity to bid on baskets filled with dog treats and toys. Several baskets had a Christmas theme with decorations, wrapping paper and other holiday essentials. Gift cards were spread throughout the rows of baskets. These ranged from a $50 Target gift card to a dinner for four at the Sagamore.
Just before the drawings began, Ladies Auxiliary President Beth Brundage surveyed the crowd that was chatting and enjoy refreshments from the dessert table. “We have 192 guests plus the firefighters, volunteers and vendors.” All available seats were taken and a few attendees settled in by the firefighters’ lockers, leaning up against turnout gear. The 192 guests represent a near sellout for the event, which is capped at 200. The admission price of $10 came with 25 tickets guests used to bid on the baskets. Additional sheets of tickets were sold at the event along with tickets to four different raffles.
This is the 10th year for this event and the Ladies Auxiliary has developed an efficient system to select winners and deliver the goods. Promptly at 2:30 p.m., Auxiliary volunteers began bringing baskets and their associated bags of tickets to the center of the room. In rapid succession, a ticket was drawn for each prize, the winning number called out by Brundage, and then the basket delivered to the winner, identified as the excited person waving a hand in the air. It took about two hours to select winners for all 206 baskets, with an occasional break to select a door prize winner.
Proceeds from the basket sale fund the Auxiliary’s charitable projects. The Community Needs Fund is used to “adopt” families and seniors for the holidays, provide scholarships for Lake George students and help families who have lost their home to fire or have special needs.
The Lake George Fire Department’s fleet will be kicked outside again later this month for the Lake George Lite Up The Village celebration. The garage bays will be filled with music as the Lake George Community Band plays and children line up for a visit with Santa. According to Brundage, last year, 342 children showed up at the firehouse to see St. Nick, “…and we’re ready for them again this year.”
Lite Up The Village kicks off at 4 p.m. in Shepard Park on Saturday, Nov. 25. A highlight of the event is the lighted fire truck parade, which travels up Canada Street at 6:25 p.m. Lake George Fire Chief Jason Berry says the 2017 parade will be double the size of last year’s. A dozen fire companies are participating this year. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to the companies voted the Best Decorated. According to Chief Berry, members of the Village Board of Trustees will be judges for the parade competition.