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Fundraiser for a fun site in Olcott Beach

OLCOTT Burning to bid on a Char Broil grill or compete for a sailboat cruise on Lake Ontario?

These prizes and much more await participants in the 12th annual auction to benefit Olcott Beach Carousel Park today in the Olcott Fire Hall, 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road.

Doors open at noon, and participants are invited to peruse the items until 2 p.m. while enjoying a luncheon buffet and music by the Sophisticats. Beverages are also available at a nominal fee. The live auction begins at 2 p.m. A chance auction will be ongoing, from noon to 4 p.m., and all items purchased must be taken that day.

This is the nonprofit organization's largest fundraiser of the year, according to the park's president, Rosemary Sansone. She said the park, which boasts a 1928 Herschell Spillman carousel and five old-time kiddie rides, sold well over 85,000 ride tickets last year -- each priced at only a quarter.

"We actually ran out of tickets in July and had to recycle them," she said. "People really seem to enjoy the park."

The park is run entirely by volunteers and is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. This year, the volunteers have added an extra day of operation with the inclusion of Wednesdays, so the park will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, Sansone said.

With free admission and 25-cent rides, the park depends heavily on its few fundraisers, and the auction is the biggest one it stages each year.

"We use this money for operating expenses and maintenance," Sansone said.

This year's auction features a variety of items, including:

*Three chairs from the former Olcott Seafood Bar (items usually sold to collectors).

*Two sets of hand-crafted, white oak porch furniture.

*Murano glassware flown in from Venice, Italy, for the occasion.

*A child's red retro pedal car.

*A one-week stay for up to 20 guests at a lake house in Lake Anna, Va.

Admission is $10 and includes lunch, preview of the items and a chance to win a $100 door prize. Admission for children 12 and under is $5. Winners will be announced immediately after the live auction.