Anything's possible at Ocean Park
Thirty years ago, at the second annual Possible Dreams Auction, an enthusiastic fan paid $85 to reserve a dance with singer/songwriter Carly Simon at Hot Tin Roof, her Island nightclub. That year, the celebrity fundraising event netted $1,361 to help the Vineyard's largest not-for-profit provider of education, health and human services.
Two decades later, a pair of bidders each paid $65,000 for "Stories, Songs and Snacks with Carly," bringing in $130,000 for a single dream, and ensuring that Martha's Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) could continue to provide vital programs for year-round Island residents and visitors, regardless of their ability to pay.
In August 2006, when auctioneer Art Buchwald, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, took the final bid for his hat, the event raised a record-breaking $810,000
This year, on Monday, August 3, the fundraiser, which is being dedicated to the late Walter Cronkite, will make its debut in an expansive new location: Ocean Park, the sweeping green overlooking Nantucket Sound on Seaview Avenue in Oak Bluffs, just steps from Circuit Avenue and the Steamship Authority pier. With a line-up that includes almost all the Island's luminaries - Possible Dreams Committee co-chairman Jim Shane characterizes it as "the best ever offered" - it promises to be
memorable on all counts. A $25 donation per person gives attendees the opportunity to bid on more than 35 specially created "dreams" - one-of-a-kind experiences, otherwise unobtainable, donated by celebrities and well-known public figures.
"It's our 'coming out' event," says Mr. Shane, now in his fifth and final year at the helm of the committee along with co-chair DiAnn Ray. "We're really excited about the move this year to Ocean Park, the people's park. We've gone from a lovely tea party in Edgartown to a new, very public venue we're hoping will be our home for the next 30 or 40 years."
A model for celebrity auctions nationwide, Possible Dreams represents different things to different people: the affluent donors who open their hearts to an island they call home each summer, bidders who vie for the experience of a lifetime, and Islanders who benefit from Community Services as a direct result of funds raised at the auction. But for the up to 2,000 people who attend this Monday, Possible Dreams promises to be an entertaining evening of celebrity sightings, surprises, and fun.
Island teen singing sensation Katie Mayhew will open the festivities with a rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," while the traditional favorite Beetlebung Steel Band will be on hand to provide a musical introduction. The auctioneering team of Rick Lee and Susan Klein will again handle the bidding for a unique roster of dreams, including: