Elayne Boosler was the draw, but animal welfare was the cause that raised more than $20,000 at Saturday's Wags to Riches fundraiser for the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor.
"All of it for the care and love of animals," said APSFH board member, artist Jaime Ellsworth.
More than 30 volunteers, who had prepared food for the annual party for days, welcomed some 180 animal lovers to the evening fundraiser at the San Juan Community Theatre at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, June 29.
Platters full of cheeses, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp skewers and crab and artichoke canapes occupied a milling crowd of party-hungry islanders sipping wine and enjoying the bounty provided by the busy volunteers of APSFH members and friends.
Boosler, a tireless animal rights advocate and sharp-tongued stand-up comedian not afraid to deliver political zingers, quickly got the crowd laughing. After more than a half-hour, she was followed up by a fast-paced string of one-liners from Wendy Liebman and Emo Philips.
After another few trays of hors d'oevres and more than a few more bottles of wine, the crowd continued the camaraderie back in the Whittier Theatre. Urged on by Boosler, Liebman and Philips, bidders spent more than $10,000 on eight live auction items, including use of a luxury suite at a Mariners game, a gourmet dinner for eight from Coho Restaurant and 50 bottles of wine.
For a week prior to the fundraiser through July 1, an online auction of 114 items raised about $8,500. More than 100 businesses and animal lovers donated everything from 300 pounds of gravel to four tickets to Jay Leno's television show. Almost every restaurant on San Juan Island donated gift certificates.
The "Howl-in-One" golf ball drop auction sold 500 tickets at $10 each, but not one ball dropped from the helicopter went in the hole. Off-islander Karen Kind won $500 for "closest to the hole"; four others won $250.
As the evening ended after 10 p.m., Byron warmly thanked Gina Sandwith, Chance Earle and the 30 volunteers who “made it all happen with passion and style.”