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Cellarbration! inbound!

Mar. 6—MOSES LAKE — The Big Bend Community College Foundation will cellarbrate a little earlier this year. The Cellarbration! benefit dinner and auction, usually held in May, will take place March 16.

"There were three auctions in town within four weeks," explained Foundation Director Leanne Parton. We had Bourbon and Bowties in April, and then we had the (Moses Lake Christian Academy) Crab Feed May 4, and then we were May 20. It just was too many too fast, so we decided to split it out so there'd be one a month."

This is the 23rd year the foundation has held Cellarbration!, which raises money for scholarships and emergency support for BBCC students, Parton said. Last year's event raised $167,000.

Dinner will be catered by Michael's on the Lake, wines will be supplied by Milbrandt Vineyards and the live auction will be presented by Chuck Yarbro Auctioneers. There will be a silent auction as well, held both online and in person. The online part starts today, Parton said.

Live auction items include several getaways and events, according to the advance listing, including trips to Coeur d'Alene, Hawaii, Leavenworth and New Orleans, as well as dinner celebrations and a Broadway show in Spokane. Bidders will also have a chance to stock their pantry with, literally, tons of potatoes, onions and beans, or stock their freezer with a half-pig.

There's also an item called the Ultimate Sports Fan Experience, which includes a two-night stay and tickets to a professional baseball, basketball, football, hockey or golf game, anywhere the buyer chooses.

"You can pick a professional team and then they arrange everything for you," Parton said. "You can stay local or you can decide to go somewhere else."

The live auction is mostly sold out, Parton said, although there was at least one cancellation as of Monday that was available to be resold. There is also a waiting list available in case of more cancellations. The online auction is free for everyone and has no participant limit.

Big Bend Community College's service area includes 19 high schools, and at least one student from each receives a scholarship. There are also scholarships for returning students who have been out of high school for a year or more and want to continue their education.

There will also be a paddle raise for the foundation's emergency fund, which helps keep students in college when they run into unexpected financial difficulties.

The speaker this year is second-year BBCC nursing student Ty Tait. Tait, who also serves as the college's Associated Student Body president, started out studying to be a physician's assistant but discovered a passion for nursing instead. He'll speak about the setbacks he encountered in pursuing his education and how the BBCC Foundation's scholarship supported him.

The response this year is the best it's ever been, Parton said.

"We're over $60,000 in donations before we've even opened the doors," she said. "It's fabulous. The community support has been phenomenal."

Joel Martin may be reached via email at jmartin@columbiabasinherald.com.