OSCEOLA COUNTY — With spring just around the corner ... maybe ... someday ... one of the things people in Osceola County begin planning for is the annual Community Foundations annual dinner and auction.

The OCCF auction is viewed as one of the biggest events on the Osceola calendar — something of a kickoff to a busy spring and summer ahead.

“This is our 17th annual auction and we’re really looking forward to another evening of fundraising fun and fellowship in support of a great cause,” said OCCF auction committee member Jerry Lindquist.

This year, for the second year running, the OCCF Dinner and Auction will be held in the Community Building at the Osceola 4-H FFA Fairgrounds.. With folks gathering on Thursday, May 5, a social hour begins at 6 p.m. allowing time for guests to review the regular and silent auction items and fellowship with others. Dinner follows and the live auction will wrap up the evening’s festivities.

“We are certainly hoping we’ll have a great turnout from our community this year,” continued Lindquist.

“There are some new items that really sound promising. Some people are going to be really pleased when they walk away from this fundraiser with some pretty spectacular deals.”

During the auction, items ranging from flower arrangements to an exciting week stay at a private home on the Caribbean island St. Martin will be on the block. There also will be golf outing packages and weekend stays at resorts and hotels around the state on the block.

“There are other new items as well,” said Lindquist “For example, bidders may win Keith Urban concert tickets at Van Andel; tickets for the Broadway Theater play in Grand Rapids; glider plane rides out of Cadillac, fishing float trip on the P.M., Tiger baseball tickets, MSU Basketball game tickets, and more.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we hope there will be spirited bidding as we raise money for our Community Foundation.”

All the money raised goes into the Foundation general fund. Every penny raised stays in Osceola County in support of the many programs the Foundation has supported and will support in the future.

Last year, at the 2010 auction, close to 300 people had bolstered the OCCF General Fund by over $20,000.

“We’ve been hitting close to $20,000 the pat few years,” said Lindquist. “I’d hope we’d get close to that figure again this year — or even move well beyond $20,000.

“What folks need to remember is that all the money raised and donated to the OCCF stays in Osceola County and is put to great use by people and groups carrying out wonderful projects throughout our area.”

In December last year, Foundation board members awarded over $31,000 in grants offering support to 13 individual organizational programs.

In May of that same year, 2010, Osceola County Community Foundation (OCCF) Board members presented thirty (30) high school graduating seniors in Osceola County, one senior in Mecosta County, and one college student, with scholarships totaling $30,850 at their respective Award Assembly.

Those planning on attending — individuals, couples, or businesses buying blocks of tickets — had better get tickets bought soon.

Tickets for the Foundation’s dinner-auction can be purchased at Lake Osceola State Bank, Citizens Bank, and Holihan’s Drug Store in Evart.

Anyone having a problem getting hold of tickets they can call planning committee member Larry Emig at 832-4880.