The holiday season officially began November 14, with the 2019 Jingle Bell Gala, presented by the Brunswick Rotary Foundation. This third annual event was held at Weymouth Country Club, 3946 Weymouth Road, Medina.

The festive holiday event featured a plated dinner that offered one of three selections, live and silent auctions of lavish designer-decorated trees, an enticing array of unique holiday gift items, and raffles, all wrapped up in the promise of a delightful evening.

During the cocktail hour guests had the opportunity to purchase keys to the treasure chest that contained a beautiful diamond necklace valued at $1,500 donated by Wiant Jewelers, buy a ticket for the wine pull, take a chance with a string of tickets for the lottery tree, or bid on the many outstanding silent auction items.

Included in the silent auction items were elaborately decorated trees donated by The Post-Veteran Owned Thrift Store ("Aurora Borealis" tree), Saint Ambrose School ("Angel Tree"), and BNI I71 Buzz Chapter ("It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" tree). Deborah Wasylko and her team at Baskets Galore graciously offered to put together many of the decorated baskets for the silent auction. If needed, free delivery of purchased items was available the following morning within the Medina County area.

Master of Ceremonies Donald Kammer welcomed the crowd of about 170 to the gala. Rotary Club of Brunswick President Marine Major James Collins greeted the guests, made several introductions, and thanked the members of the committee - Marsha Pappalardo, Kimberly Valco, and Lisa Cinadr; Pappalardo was also thanked for her continuously ongoing efforts on behalf of Rotary.

Cinadr, Principal of St. Ambrose School, thanked Rotary for the recent donation that provided new safety classroom doors. Winner of the Lifesaving Award, Brunswick Police Officer George Keleman, thanked Rotary for the donation that enabled the department to purchase AEDs.

Patrick Carlson, Brunswick Rotary Foundation President, delivered the invocation. Following dinner, guest auctioneer Carl DeForest, Brunswick City Manager, conducted the live auction that consisted of a "My Fair Lady" weekend getaway package, an autographed football signed by Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb, Floor seats to a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game, and lunch with DeForest and James Collins. Those packages raised almost $2,400.

Event sponsors were: Sleigh Bells level, Citizens Bank; Toy Maker level, Danbury Senior Living, Vision Clinics, Deloitte, and Western Reserve Masonic Community; Reindeer level, Home Instead, Edward Jones, Hill Stonestreet Co., Car Parts Warehouse, Cleveland Fitness Club, Carlson Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, and Juliann R. Demand-Balski DDS; and Elf level, Northwestern Mutual, The Place, and Waite and Son Funeral Homes. There were more than 70 auction item donors.

Some of the proceeds from this event will go towards providing food to children in Medina County, in part through the food pantry at Brunswick High School. The Brunswick Rotary Foundation relies on fundraisers like the Jingle Bell Gala to support its many and varied works in the communities of Medina County.

Included among its projects are giving holiday baskets and gifts to senior citizens and families in need, dictionaries to all Brunswick third graders, four $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors, doing Salvation Army bell ringing, making donations for safety equipment to law enforcement agencies, and giving countless donations to local and international charities.

To learn more about Rotary, whose mission is "to improve the lives of our neighbors in Medina County," visit a weekly meeting on Thursdays at 7:15 a.m. in the Danbury Senior Living Community Room, 3430 Brunswick Lake Parkway, Brunswick.