When they put on a live auction, they do it in unmistakably Caravan Farm Theatre fashion.
That’s the intent of event brainchild Scott Crocker and artistic and managing director Estelle Shook as they gear up for the third annual Hands Up! Live Auction Fundraiser June 2.
“It’s been a really successful event for us because it combines all the theatricality of Caravan Farm Theatre and the legacy in the form of our patron saint Bill Miner,” Shook said. “At the centre is the theatrical live auction.”
Complete with outlaw-lead entertainment, this year’s auction will be brought to life by Don Raffan of Armstrong’s Valley Auction LTD.
“That just lifts it up so much,” Shook said of having Raffan lead the auction. “He’s such a pillar of the community. I grew up watching him as an auctioneer. For me, it’s really special that we finally have Don. We’re really looking forward to that.”
Raffan, a long-time auctioneer, will be getting the crowd excited for Caravan’s thematic packages that combine multiple prizes, such as golf and bed and breakfast in a similar region, to create a complete offering.
“It’s like having an incredible commercial,” Shook said. “Don will talk about it (a prize) and make it sound like it’s the best thing since sliced bread.”
Prizes also include spa packages, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues tickets and other uniquely Okanagan fare.
“We’ve had tremendous support from local businesses,” Shook said.
Last year, the auction raised $7,500 and Scotiabank matched up to $5,000. As the number grew, a man in a lab coat stood watch and, with the help of children in attendance, coloured in Caravan’s Goliath donation thermometer.
“It was so exciting when we saw red explode out the top,” Shook said.
Crocker said this year is shaping up to be even bigger than last year’s hoedown.
“I think it’ll be good. Every year it gets smoother. (And there are) more theatrical surprises, which will be fun,” Crocker said. “We get better at it every year.”
While Hands Up, at its core, is a fundraiser for Caravan Farm Theatre, Shook and Crocker said it’s important to them that it is also an entertaining family event whether guests bid on items or not.
To that end, Seal Skull Hammer and Birch Bark will swing out their instruments before the auction gets underway. And, while they play, tastings from five local vineyards, three artisan food joints including a new cheese maker in Salmon Arm, and the BX Press Cidery in Vernon are on offer.
“What I like about this is it’s a fun evening for the whole family and you get a delicious burger and a pint and then the beautiful ambiance,” Shook said.
Admission also includes a locally-cultivated gourmet burger with meat from Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen, buns from Country Bakery in Armstrong’s Askew’s Foods and condiments and greens from local farmers’s markets. And, to wash it down, ticketholders receive a craft brew from long-time supporters Crannog Ales.
And it’s all with the intent of helping the non-profit theatre company continue their work. Up next for Caravan Farm Theatre is Law of the Land from the same creative team that brought the farm The Ballad of Weedy Peetstraw last year.
“It’s a farce. It’s a flat-out comedy,” Shook said of production, which opens July 24. “All your typical farce tropes are in this piece. It’s like laugh your face off comedy. We’re really looking forward to it.”
For Law of the Land performances July 27-29 and Aug. 1-3, Shook said a 30 per cent discount is available until July 3.
“We exist so we can provide something good for the community,” Shook said. “This fundraiser is a really important part of our operation. It enables us to keep ticket prices as low as we do. It’s a really important part of the puzzle.”
The gates open and outlaws are set free June 2 at 6 p.m. Music begins at 6:30 p.m. and the auction starts at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets for Hands Up! are available for $25 adult or $10 for youth 18-and-under through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca, or $30 adults and $10 for youth at the door. Law of the Land runs July 24 to Aug. 26. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.ticketseller.ca.