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
"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,"
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.
"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
"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
"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
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.
Call 418-2826 for special room rates
Incorporated in 1988, ARC is a not-forprofit
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