The Strip-a-thon auction was getting a little surreal when a patron bid $5,000 for a brassier belonging to one of the servers at the Caddyshack Show Lounge.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Yvan Charette.
That was two years ago – the year that the charity event raised $25,000, it’s highest-ever donation for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.
The bra bid illustrates the spirit of giving at the event, said Charette, a managing partner at the lounge. Participants are simply donating, and the lingerie auction just adds a bit of raucous fun.
“The Strip-a-thon is a long tradition that’s been around since the early 1990s,” he said. “The concept is for us to hold this charity event once per year, and get as much as possible raised for local families.”
The Strip-a-thon, now an entrenched Haney holiday tradition, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be 20 different shows, a 50/50 draw, several auction events, and there are numerous prizes – a foosball cooler, beer fridge, television, camping chairs, beach umbrellas and more, all donated by Caddyshack suppliers.
When Charette first got involved with it, the event raised about $8,000 to $9,000, but it has risen to the point where the budget is for approximately $20,000.
“It’s the wackiest charity event out there, but people get behind it, and it’s a really fun day,” said Charette.
The lounge is packed like a Tokyo subway on the day. Some local businesses use it for a Christmas party. Reserve seats and tables are being sold. Admission is generally $10, but for $25, a person can reserve a seat and enjoy a complimentary breakfast, served between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
“We sell out every year,” said Charette. “By Thursday, there will be no tables left.”
The performers donate their time for the shows, Caddyshack staff donate a portion of their tips, and many people donate their time.
“Hats off to my staff, because they work hard that day, and they really get behind it,” said Charette.
Lorraine Bates of the Christmas Hamper Society said the Strip-a-thon is the charity’s single biggest fundraiser.
There were 575 local families registered for the Christmas Hamper last year. Each child in the family gets $100 worth of new toys, and the family gets a food voucher for a local grocery store, which will get them everything they need for a traditional Christmas dinner, plus Mandarin oranges and other seasonal treats.
“The money from the Strip-a-thon pays our food bill,” said Bates. “We’re dependent on them.”