The Free George (March 14, 2011) - 1st Annual Bachelor Auction at Vapor, Saratoga Springs, New York - By: Aubree Cutkomp
On Saturday, March 12, 2011, 18 of the Capital Region's most eligible bachelors took to Vapor's stage for the first annual Bachelor Auction to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The event raised over $11,000 for AFSP, in what turned out to be a successful (and very fun) evening.
"Tonight's auction actually started out as a joke," Marianne Reid, Board Chair for the regional AFSP chapter and mastermind behind the event, told me, but when she "ran the idea by Vapor, they were 100% on board."
The evening began with a Bachelor Meet and Greet, where the ladies met the bachelors to decide on their top picks for bidding in the auction to follow. I got a chance to sneak in a few questions as well.
Greg Aidala, a comedian, whom you may know by his comedy showcase "The Brew Ha-Ha", confided to me that he was planning to win his date over with his sense of humor, and his date package theme: "An Evening in Saratoga," which included dinner at The Wine Bar followed by a night of jazz at 9 Maple Avenue. Greg, who was Bachelor #9, unicycled onto stage to "Burning Love," making an entrance, and indeed winning a lucky lady over that night.
Bachelor #18, Tom O'Clair, said he "was going to be at the event anyways (as a Board member)," and despite his butterflies, he was, "more than happy to help out for the cause." The cause was the most popular reason here; in fact, when I posed the question to each of the bachelors as to what brought them here, they unanimously responded that was why.
Soon after my one on one time with the men, they were whisked off to the stage. The women, now with a choice bachelor in mind and a few drinks in them, were a rowdy bunch, which is of course a good thing when you're bidding on men.
The overall vibe of the evening was highly entertaining, a romping good time, with everyone involved doing their parts to make it such. The emcee, Amanda Talar, and auctioneer, Eric Weaver (a retired Rochester sergeant and Western NY Board Member) had great on-stage chemistry, and Eric's fast-talking auctioneer skills were beyond impressive. The bachelors ranged in age from 22-48, or as Amanda referred to it "from Zac Efron to George Clooney." They too did a great job, utilizing their few minutes in the spotlight to sell themselves and give the women in the audience a sense of who they were. All of the bachelors took the time to plan their date packages (a requirement for each) and put their best foot forward in the name of a good cause.
Speaking of the cause, though I had been familiar with suicide, I was also enlightened by the information I learned here. Close to one million Americans attempt suicide each year and more than 33,000 die by the act—1,400 of which are in New York. The majority of AFSP board members are survivors who have lost loved ones to suicide or are currently dealing with mental illness in loved ones, making the night not only ideal for raising funds, but also for raising spirits.
For more information on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, visit www.afsp.org. And for the Suicide Prevention Center of New York (SPCNY) visit www.preventsuicideNY.org