From exquisite high-end jewelry to sought-after golf clubs, top resort stays to a weekend rental of a Jaguar, auction items donated for the 18th annual ARC Starlight Auction have surpassed last year's in glitz and glamour.
"Many local businesses continue to support our efforts year after year, and items that we have this year that are exquisite," said Animal Refuge Center treasurer and event organizer Betty Hughes. "This year we have a Pave Diamond - a particular style of diamond necklace from Lily & Co. Sanibel and Sanibel's Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry donated a necklace of interlocking circle of multi-colored sapphires and diamonds.
"We also have a 2-night stay at Gaylord Palms in Orlando with tickets to Disney World and, of course, an African Safari," she said.
The safari has been a mainstay auction item at the event.
"There are people that come to our auction specifically to bid on the African trip," she said. "It is a 6-night photo safari trip from Zula Nyala."
There are about 200 donated items this year, she reported.
If You Go:
Who: Animal Refuge Center
What: 18th Annual Starlight
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, 6 p.m.
Where: The Sanibel Harbour
Marriott Resort and Spa
com, or Betty Hughes at
841-0810 or email
"Another neat thing we have this year is a full-set of irons and woods - Callway Golf RAZR," she said.
A unique item is a hand-made 3-foot tall rocking horse made of solid maple, complete with leather saddle and bridle.
"It's gorgeous," said Hughes.
There are also stays at resorts like GullWing Beach Resort, 'Tween Waters Inn Resort and the Bellasera Hotel in Naples and more.
There will be both a silent and live auction. "Highlighting the live auction will be an original painting from Darryl Pottorf, two South African photographic safari trips via Zulu Nyala and a stunning bronze statue by Laran Ghiglieri," Hughes said.
But the big draw of the evening is in supporting ARC, the area's largest no-kill animal shelter.
"The big highlight this year is that Phoenix will be the guest of honor."
Phoenix was found earlier this year in a sugarcane field literally starving to death, and has recuperated for the last six months.
"Health-wise he is 100 percent now, and we will probably unveil the fact that he is ready for adoption," she said.
His Facebook fans may want to meet him that night, she added. "He has over 1,100 Facebook fans now." You can visit him at facebook.com/phoenixandarc.
ARC currently houses about 480 animals right now. "The challenge we are facing right now is the continual need in the community to offer shelter to these many pets surrendered by people facing economic challenges," she said. "In order to better accommodate the need in our community, our goal is to raise $259,000 by year end."
NBC-2's Krista Fogelsong will be the emcee this year and The Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa puts on a fabulous meal.
"They've been our host for about 15 years; the food is exceptional," Hughes said. "We'll be offering a Steamboat Beef and Virginia Ham carving stations, and an arrangement of pastas, Waldorf salads, shrimp and incredible deserts."
The event is over Thanksgiving weekend, and supported by many who like to take friends and out-of-town guests to break up the weekend - after two days of staying home and leftover turkey.
"There are still tickets available and we promise, no turkey," Hughes said.
She particular invites Cape Coral residents to attend. "Cape Coral is one of our biggest supporters and the highest percentage of our adopters come from Cape Coral."
The cost is $75 per ticket, which includes admission, dinner, dessert and cocktail. For information, go to AnimalRefugeCenter.com or call Hughes at 841-0810 or email BettyHughes@comcast.net.
Call 418-2826 for special room rates auction night
Incorporated in 1988, ARC is a not-for-profit animal welfare society dedicated to caring for all homeless animals brought to its sanctuary. The sanctuary houses 36 canine lodges, a Canine Training Center, a Cat Adoption Center and 16 feline facilities. It is home to more than 340 cats and 60 dogs.