While most everyone in Lakewood donned red, white and blue this Fourth of July, the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA (LECPTA) wore black and white.
The neighborhood parade gives the LECPTA a visible opportunity to announce its auction party theme each year, and this year’s party on Friday, Nov. 8, will take its inspiration from Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Masked Ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York, which drew 500 guests and celebrities with names like Sinatra, Rockefeller and Kennedy to celebrate the success of the author’s crime novel, “In Cold Blood.”
The auction party kicks off the weekend-long Lakewood Home Festival. The candlelight tour and party on Friday night is followed by the market and home tour Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10. Tickets will be available in October.
Last year’s Lakewood home tour and auction party raised $144,000, the largest amount in the tour’s history. The Friday night auction party, “which sells out every year,” says LECPTA publicity chair Debbie Jordan, is the weekend’s biggest moneymaker, and a couple of the party’s new features contributed to the record success.
One was the venue, the Hotel Palomar, which was selected last year when the Lakewood Country Club, where the event is traditionally held, wasn’t available because of construction. The Palomar has capacity for 600 people, versus 500 at the country club, “so there were 100 more people present at last year’s party to bid on auction items,” Jordan says. Another boost came from the auction party’s wine, beer and liquor sponsors, which provided all of the libations (Glazers and Diageo, Lakewood Brewing Company, Don Julio tequila, Ciroc vodka and Bulleit Bourbon whiskey).
“Over the years, the liquor tab accounted for approximately 30 percent of the overall auction party costs, so having these sponsors is huge,” Jordan says.
The LECPTA decided to return to the Palomar this year, and it will likely remain the event venue from now on.
“The country club is still being remodeled, but even when the work there is done, it will not hold the numbers that this party has grown to over the years,” Jordan says. “Unlike most other venues, Palomar is willing to allow us to provide our own liquor and even desserts (all sponsored), which goes back to that 30 percent savings. Additionally, some couples like to make a night of it and stay over, so the hotel offering is an added plus for Palomar.”
The money raised by the home tour and auction party each year is given to Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School. This year, the $144,000 was divvied up so that Lakewood received $89,000, Long $40,000 and Woodrow $15,000.
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