Camelot comes to Cayman

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman celebrated the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table on Friday night at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

This year, the annual Camelot Auction had a twist, said club president Lori McRae.

“We’ve been calling it the Camelot Auction for years, but we haven’t really implemented the Camelot theme before,” she said. “This year we decided to implement the theme through decorations and by encouraging attendees to dress in Camelot attire.”

Guests who didn’t dress up were asked to dress in formal attire, so the event featured men in tuxedos, women in long dresses, knights, fair maidens and seven monks.

Ms McRae said it was good to see so many people dress in Camelot-themed attire, which added to the enjoyment of the evening.

“We were trying to put the ‘fun’ into fundraiser,” she said.

Another fun feature of the auction this year was the addition of Chicago-born comedian Michael Colyar, who entertained the audience with two performances. On his first trip to Cayman, Mr. Colyar found amusement in several aspects of life here, including the chickens walking around outside Kentucky Fried Chicken and the fact that a turtle shell without the turtle was up for bid in the silent auction.

Jay Fiske of Seattle served as auctioneer again this year, while Arek Joseph was emcee.

Some of the more interesting items up for bid in the live auction included an electric guitar signed by Bruce Springsteen and another one signed by the Rolling Stones; a home makeover design donated by Rotarian architect John Doak; and a barbecue at Rotarian Derek Haines’ home. The latter was so popular that several people bought the experience for $1,250 or more.

The Camelot Auction is the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s major fundraising event of the year. Ms McRae said the final figure of the amount raised had not been determined yet, but that the fund-an-item segment of the auction raised more than $16,000. That money will be split evenly between the Rotary-supported Meals on Wheels programme and the joint University College of the Cayman Islands/Rotary observatory building project.

This year, Dart Cayman became the Standing Ovation sponsor of the event. At one point during the evening, everyone was asked to hold up their bid cards, which had the Dart name on the back, for photos.

“Dart really stepped up for us,” said Ms McRae. “The funds raised in the Camelot Auction form a big portion of what the incoming board has to spend on our many community projects. Having the support of businesses like Dart and others that took corporate tables and then bid generously on our auction items is vital to Camelot’s success.”

Some of the 2010 community projects funded by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman through money raised in last year’s Camelot Auction include the National Gallery’s Art Outlook Programme; the annual scholarship fund; improvements to the Neils Godfrey Park in George Town; new uniforms for John Gray students in need; new neo-natal equipment at George Town Hospital; Meals on Wheels; and the new observatory building at UCCI.

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