It has been a decade since Queensbury resident George Sicard walked into the newly-opened Olde Post Grille and asked owner Heather O’Neill if she would be willing to sell a couple of angels for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York.
“It was very impromptu,” O’Neill recalled. “I said, ‘Let’s see if we can get stuff donated, we could have a little silent auction and raise more money.’ ”
What began as a simple gesture to raise a few dollars to grant wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses has become a large-scale endeavor, O’Neill said, with 20 volunteers overseeing a night of fun and fundraising, including a 50/50 raffle and live and silent auctions.
This year’s event is Thursday.
In nine years, more than $100,000 has gone to the organization, including $25,000 from last year alone, O’Neill said.
“It’s turned into something quite extraordinary,” she said.
O’Neill said volunteers like Liz Naylor, Joe O’Neill, Herb Clothier and Sicard have helped to make this an important event.
Sicard, for example, has been the evening’s long-time auctioneer, missing one year only because of illness, and Clothier makes the posters for the fundraiser and has recruited Melissa Doty, a contestant on Fox Broadcasting Co.’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” to donate a cooking demonstration to the auction.
O’Neill said other auction items include rides on the original “Miami Vice” television show boat, a hot air balloon and a helicopter — and a there’s a new liquor package this year, in which individuals and businesses will donate their favorite bottles of wine or liquor.
“Some lucky winner has the potential of 40 or 50 bottles of liquor. You could seriously stock your liquor cabinet for a holiday party,” O’Neill said.