OEF Gala to be Aug 21 in park

Mindy Carls
The coronavirus pandemic inspired the first package offered during the live auction at the Orion Educational Foundation's Spring Gala on Friday, March 13, 2020. at the Camden Centre, Milan. While auctioneer Jana Stenzel, left, calls for bids, Derek Engstrom, center, holds 30 rolls of toilet paper and Neal Nelson displays a case of Corona beer and a box of exam gloves. When people realized they might have to stay at home during the pandemic, they bought all the toilet paper they could find in stores. This year’s Spring Gala was postponed until Saturday, Aug. 21. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. in Central Park.

“Freaky Friday” was the theme of the Orion Educational Foundation’s Spring Gala on Friday, March 13, 2020. It was the last school-related activity before the COVID-19 pandemic began four days later.

Organizers decided to move the foundation’s biggest fundraiser from the traditional March date to Saturday, August 21. Rather than hold the gala indoors at the Camden Centre, Milan, the 2021 gala will be in Central Park, Orion.

“A Night Under the Stars” is the 22nd annual gala. The rain date is Saturday, Aug. 28.

The public is invited to begin gathering in the park at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. For tickets, visit the Orion Education Foundation’s Facebook page. Payments may be made through PayPal or Venmo.

Rock River Arms donated an RRA LAR-15, RRAGE Carbine, to be raffled off at 7 p.m. A maximum of 250 tickets will be sold through Venmo or PayPal on the OEF Facebook page. The purchaser must pass a background check before receiving the carbine.

After the raffle, the live auction will begin.

Items include a two-seat wooden bench with red and black trim and a built-in tabletop between the seats.

Nathan DeBaillie and Jennifer Johnson took a discarded entertainment center and fashioned it into two athletic lockers 6 feet tall, 2 feet wide and 1-1/2 feet deep. The lockers have motion lights and reusable numbers.

Also to be auctioned are a banner featuring the 2020 cross country team and two varsity football banners from the spring 2021 season.

Items from 2020-21 grade levels at C.R. Hanna Elementary School, Orion include:

• Kindergarten — One jumbo Jenga set with student names painted on pieces.

• First grade — One set of portable shelves with the handprint of each each child

• Second grade — Tara Miller’s class donated a decorated flower pot with bees and student names for each bee and a gift certificate for Enchanted Florist. Sharon

Peterson’s class donated a stuffed dog wearing graduation cap, signed by students. Jody Belowske’s class made a shadow box, “When We Grow Up,” featuring each child holding up a sign stating what they want to be. Sydney Adams’ class planted handprints on a clay flower pot, which comes with potting mix and a gift certificate from Lowe’s.

• Third grade — Three pieces of wall art, in the style of stained glass, signed by the students.

• Fourth grade — A garden stone from each class.

• Fifth grade — A wall hanging, “Reach for the Stars,” with the handprint of each child.

The 2020 gala netted about $30,000 for enrichment materials and expenses for all three schools.